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The Audit Commission says one in five children suffer from mental health problems, with boys outnumbering girls until their mid-teens. It looked at children referred to CAMHS over a four-week period, and found 60 to 80 per cent had problems with family life, emotional issues, peer pressure or aggressive behaviour. Only 5 per cent presented with just one of these problems. It also found:

40 per cent of children were living with one natural parent (compared to 21 per cent in the general population);

34 per cent lived in families where the main breadwinner was unemployed;

27 per cent had some form of learning disability;

19 per cent were living with a parent with mental illness;

9 per cent had been looked after by the local authority.

Children in Mind: child and adolescent mental health services. Audit Commission Publications, 0800-502030.£20.