The UK’s largest children’s charity Barnardo’s have revealed the results of their survey into what worries children and teens.
Conducted by YouGov on behalf of the charity, the results, released just in time for Children’s Mental Health Week, reveal that almost half of children aged 12 to 16 in England feel sad or anxious at least once a week.
Of those surveyed, 70 percent of 16 year olds reported feeling sad or anxious at least once a week, with almost a quarter having negative feelings as often as once a day. Nearly one in two 12 year olds surveyed said they felt sad or anxious at least once a week, while less than two percent reported never feeling this way.
When asked the main causes of their stress, young people overwhelmingly cited school (65 percent), their future (42 percent), and problems at home (31 percent). Around a quarter were stressed by their weight or being bullied. Concerningly, a staggering 83 percent of 16 year olds admitted to being stressed, with 80 percent expressing worry about their futures.
In contrast, only 11 percent of young people reported being worried about social media, while 12 percent expressed concern about cyber bullying. These latest findings seem to contradict previous recent studies, which suggest social media is negatively impacting young people’s feelings of anxiety and worries about bullying.
Amongst the positives highlighted by their most recent survey, Barnardo’s report an overwhelming three in four young people aged 12-16 think it would be helpful if they had access to a counsellor or similar professional at their school to talk to when feeling down or upset.
Results also suggested that messaging around the importance of talking about their feelings has been getting through to teens. Over 70 percent said they would talk to a family member if feeling sad or anxious, with 63 percent choosing to talk to friends, and just under 40 percent speaking to teachers.
Over 70 percent said they would talk to a family member if feeling sad or anxious, with 63 percent choosing to talk to friends, and just under 40 percent speaking to teachers
While school was found to be one of the most stressful areas of life for young people, the children’s charity were keen to highlight the important role teachers and counsellors can play in helping children learn to cope with that stress. Javed Kahn, Barnardo’s chief executive, said:
“It is deeply concerning that so many children in England are growing up feeling sad and anxious and these feelings are intensified as they get older. We need to create a culture where everyone has a greater understanding of what keeps children mentally well and when professional help is needed.”
Click here for more information on childhood anxiety and free resources to help young people talk about their worries, visit Counselling Directory or try our tips for Five Simple Ways to Reduce Stress Now.