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State of the Nation 2019: Children and Young People’s Wellbeing Research Report

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The picture is complex.  This is the overall finding of the report on the wellbeing of children and young people today. For those working with young people in schools and other settings, this is unlikely to come as a surprise...Read more

The lives of young people are multifaceted and the opportunities and demands are many and varied. The main themes explored in this report give us food for thought as well as endorsing what we already know from other studies. 

Key findings include:

  • Most children and young people report being happy with their lives but many are not.
  • Gender is a less consistent determinant of a child’s wellbeing than age. With young people reporting poorer wellbeing as they get older.
  • Psychological health was poorer for girls than boys of the same age but declined over adolescence for both boys and girls.
  • Bullying, including online bullying, had the strongest association with poor psychological wellbeing in girls.
  • Getting enough sleep, friendships and feeling safe in their neighbourhood appear to be key protective factors in children and young people’s wellbeing.
  • A range of factors in combination are likely to be important for teenage girls’ psychological health, rather than one or two factors in isolation.
  • A positive attitude towards school and feeling a high locus of control also play a part in better psychological health but less so than other factors considered.
  • Social media did not have a strong association with teenage girls’ psychological health, after accounting for the range of factors examined including bullying.

Probably the most important finding of all is that more detailed research needs to be undertaken to see how the interplay of various findings impact overall on young people’s wellbeing.  This may feel much like stating the obvious, as those experiencing poor psychological health rarely present with a single barrier to better wellbeing. It may also feel as if this report does nothing more than highlight the need for us to find out more, however, a more positive framing is that it does at least shine a light on an issue that is central to both education and health policy at a time of increasing dissatisfaction with our school curriculum and the increasing demand for child and adolescent mental health services.  By maintaining a focus on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing there may be an opportunity for real change and movement towards provisions that are influenced by what children and young people really say they need.

You can read the full report here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/838022/State_of_the_Nation_2019_young_people_children_wellbeing.pdf

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