William Eichler 28 August 2019

Quarter of a million children ‘unhappy’, charity says

Council chiefs have called for more funds for children’s services after a charity found quarter of a million teenagers in the UK are unhappy.

The Children’s Society’s annual report on the mental health of children warns that since 2009 children and young people have become ‘increasingly unhappy’.

The charity’s The Good Childhood Report 2019 estimates that nearly a quarter of a million 10-15 year olds in the UK may be unhappy with their lives. This equates to 4.8% of the total number of children in the country.

Comparing the findings with those in the charity’s 2009-10 annual report, The Children’s Society discovered that there had been a ‘significant decrease’ in happiness with life as a whole, with friends and with school.

There had been ‘no significant change’ for happiness with family, appearance or with schoolwork.

Responding to the report, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said that funding pressures mean councils are struggling to support young people.

‘Councils strive to make sure that every child gets the best start and is able to go on and live a healthy, safe and prosperous life, despite seeing more than 560 cases of children with mental health conditions every day – an increase of more than 50% in just four years,’ she said.

‘Statutory PSHE classes in all secondary schools from 2020 will go some way to teach children and young people the importance of mental health, emotional wellbeing and resilience, as well as addressing issues such as bullying and online harms.

‘However, significant funding pressures in children’s services and public health mean many councils are struggling to provide the support young people so desperately need.

‘They are also being forced to cut some of the vital early intervention services, including youth services and school nurses, which can support children with low level mental health issues and avoid more serious problems in later life.’

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