First News - - Front Page - by ed­i­tor-in-chief Nicky Cox

AL­MOST half of chil­dren aged from 12 to 16 in Eng­land feel sad or anx­ious at least once a week.

That’s one of the find­ings of a sur­vey by Barnardo’s, which shows that wor­ries about their fu­ture and school are chil­dren’s big­gest con­cerns.

Nearly half of 12-year-olds in Eng­land (48%) said they felt down at least once a week. By the age of 16, seven in ten (70%) re­ported feel­ing sad or anx­ious at least once a week. Nearly a quar­ter (22%) said they have neg­a­tive feel­ings as much as once a day.

The sur­vey by YouGov for Barnardo’s, the UK’s largest chil­dren’s char­ity, was re­leased for Chil­dren’s Men­tal Health Week. It goes on to re­veal how young peo­ple can be bet­ter sup­ported.

Three quar­ters of those asked said 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 said the main causes of stress were school for 65%, their fu­ture for 42%, prob­lems at home for 31%, be­ing

bul­lied for 25% (not in­clud­ing on­line) and their weight for 26%.

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

When asked who they would talk to if they felt sad or anx­ious, 38% said teach­ers, 71% said fam­ily mem­bers, 63% said friends.

Barnardo’s says schools have a key role to play, as they can be stress­ful places for chil­dren, es­pe­cially around exam time. But they are also places where kids can seek help from teach­ers and coun­sel­lors. The char­ity wants more to be done to make it eas­ier for chil­dren to talk about their men­tal health at school.

In sup­port of Chil­dren’s Men­tal Health Week, HRH the Duchess of Cam­bridge, the Royal Pa­tron of chil­dren’s men­tal health char­ity Place2Be, recorded a spe­cial video mes­sage. You can watch it at first.news/men­tal­health­week.

In her mes­sage, the Duchess spoke about the theme of this year’s cam­paign – ‘Be­ing Our­selves’ – en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren and young peo­ple to feel com­fort­able with who they are and cel­e­brate what makes them unique.

She said: “Child­hood is an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant mo­ment in our lives. It is the time when we ex­plore our per­son­al­i­ties, dis­cover the po­ten­tial that lies within us and learn how to be our­selves. Our ex­pe­ri­ence of the world at this early stage helps to shape who we be­come as adults, how we be­gin to feel com­fort­able in our own skin.”


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