William Eichler 26 August 2021

Children’s happiness suffers ‘significant decline’

Children’s happiness suffers ‘significant decline’   image

An estimated 300,000 children across the UK unhappy with their lives, a children’s charity has warned in its annual state-of-the-nation report.

The Children’s Society’s annual review of young people’s well-being finds almost 7% of 10 to 15 years olds in the UK – the equivalent of 306,000 children – are not happy with their lives overall.

This marks a significant decline in children’s happiness over the decade. According to the charity, an estimated 173,000 children were unhappy with their lives 10 years ago.

The Children’s Society’s report also revealed that children who aren’t happy with their lives at 14, are much more likely than others to have symptoms of mental health conditions by the time they’re 17, including self-harm or even suicide attempts.

‘It’s deeply distressing to see that children’s well-being is on a ten-year downward trend and on top of this a number of young people have not coped well with the pandemic,’ said Mark Russell, chief executive at The Children’s Society.

‘Children’s happiness with their lives has the potential to have far reaching consequences, and has been linked to their attainment and mental health as well as their safety and hopes for the future.’

The charity also found that the proportion of boys dissatisfied with their appearance has jumped from one in 12 to one in eight (8% to 13%) over the last decade, while the proportion of girls unhappy is more similar to a decade ago at one in seven (from 15% to 16%).

The proportion of children unhappy with their school lives has leapt from one in 11 (9%) 10 years ago, to one in eight (12%).

The report suggests most children have coped relatively well with the disruption of COVID, but it also found that 4% of 10-to-17-year olds – equivalent to an estimated quarter of a million – have struggled.

Mr Russell commented: ‘We cannot allow these worrying trends to get worse and, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, it seems clearer than ever that we need a bold and ambitious vision for childhood in England.

‘At every level, all work with children and young people should have the explicit aim of improving their well-being. From Cabinet-level leadership and close monitoring of children’s well-being by national government to really get to grips with how young people are feeling, right down to local early support services for mental health and social care in every community. It’s time to act now to protect children’s futures. They are worth the investment.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Travel Information Data Technician

Essex County Council
Up to £25581 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to work across all aspects of the Integrated Passenger Transport Unit (IPTU). Working with a passionate and dedicated England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager

Essex County Council
£57621 - £61410 per annum
Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager Permanent, Full Time £57,621 to £61,410 per annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Accountant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£39,571 - £42,614
Are you a qualified Accountant looking to take the next step in your career? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Family Assessment Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£25,419 to £27,514
We have a great opportunity for a full time Family Assessment Worker in the Parenting Assessment Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,023 - £24,920
The post holder will tackle environmental crimes and unlawful parking. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.