Today’s children and young people are growing up in an “unprecedented toxic climate” of stress, pressure and fear of failure, a national charity has warned.
YoungMinds, which is committed to improving youngsters’ emotional wellbeing and mental health, quizzed 2,000 children and young people between the ages of 11 and 25 about the issues that worry them.
More than half of them believed they would be a failure if they did not get good grades, while a third did not know where to turn for help when they felt depressed or anxious. Half of those questioned had been bullied.
More than half of 11 to 14-year-olds had viewed online pornography, with 40 per cent saying this had affected relationships with their peers.
Meanwhile four out of 10 children aged 11 to 14 admitted to skipping meals to stay thin.
The poll was published last week to mark the launch of YoungMinds Vs, the charity’s new campaign.
Funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme and Comic Relief, it will campaign about young people’s top five concerns:
Lack of access to help.
Lucie Russell, director of campaigns at YoungMinds, said: “Every day we hear about the unprecedented toxic climate children and young people face in a 24/7 online culture where they can never switch off.
“Young people tell us they experience a continuous onslaught of stress at school, bullying, sexual pressures and bleak employment prospects. When this becomes too much for them they don’t know where to turn for help and when they do, often the support just isn’t there for them.
“We are sitting on a mental health time bomb, and that’s why we have launched YoungMinds Vs, which is creating a mass movement of children and young people campaigning online for better mental health and wellbeing.”
The campaign has been backed by Labour leader Ed Miliband and Frankie Sandford of The Saturdays.
“Good mental health is essential for children to thrive and succeed,” said Mr Miliband. “That’s why we must ensure all young people have access to the help and support they need, when they need it.”
For more information, visit www.youngminds.org.uk