Half of school children feel sad or anxious every week

Half of school children feel sad or anxious every week

A new survey commissioned by charity Barnardo’s reveals that almost half of children aged 12 to 16 feel sad or anxious at least once a week.

According to the survey, pupils have been worrying about the future and school.

By the age of 16, seven in ten (70 per cent) report feeling sad or anxious at least once a week with nearly a quarter (22 per cent) having negative feelings as much as once a day.

Nearly half of 12-year-olds in England (48 per cent) surveyed also felt this way at least once a week, with only two per cent in this age group saying they never had.

The survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the children’s charity Barnardo’s reveals what is troubling today’s children and how they can be better supported.

The results show the majority of 12 to 16-year-olds in England (75 per cent) think it would be helpful if they had a counsellor or another professional at their school to talk to when they’re feeling down and upset.

They cited the main causes of stress as being school for 65 per cent, their future for 42 per cent problems at home for 31 per cent, being bullied for 25 per cent (not including online) and their weight for 26 per cent.

By the age of 16, stress at school was a worry for 83 per cent of children in England and 80 per cent were worrying about their future.

Social media has been an issue for 11 per cent who worried about getting enough ‘likes’ or responses on social media, 12 per cent were concerned about online bullying, while 15 per cent said they have been troubled by something they’d seen on social media.

The polling also found that messages about the importance of talking about their feelings are getting through to children. When asked who they would talk to if they felt sad or anxious 38 per cent said teachers, 71 per cent said family members, 63 per cent said friends.

Barnardo’s says schools have a key role to play as they can be stressful environments for children, especially around exam time. But they are also places where they can seek help from teachers and counsellors.

The polling results also show that children like to speak to a range of people when they are feeling troubled and call into question the Government’s Mental Health Green Paper proposal to train just one senior lead in each school about mental health.

Barnardo’s says more needs to be done to make it easier for children to talk about their mental health at school.

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