Children more unhappy with lives, schooling and appearance - study

There is a warning of a 'wellbeing catastrophe' facing young people.

Children more unhappy with lives, schooling and appearance – study iStock

Children in the UK are increasingly unhappy with their lives, schooling and appearance, according to new research.

It comes amid a warning of a “wellbeing catastrophe” facing young people unless urgent action is taken.

Analysis by The Children’s society indicates that around one in eight children aged between 10 and 15-years-old were unhappy in school in 2019/2020.

The charity also found that around 6% were unhappy with their lives overall, having carried out a survey of more than 2,000 children aged between 10 and 17 in the UK, as well as their parent or carer.

Data published by the UK Understanding Society, covering 40,000 UK households annually, indicates that on average, happiness with life as a whole, friends, appearance and school were all significantly lower in the latest figures than a decade previously in 2009/2010.

Around 12% of those aged between 10 and 15 surveyed were unhappy in school, while 6% were unhappy with their appearances in the most recent figures.

Girls were found in particular to be struggling with their body image, with 18% unhappy with their appearance in 2019/2020.

Mark Russell, chief executive at The Children’s Society, said that it is “desperately worrying” to see a decline in the state of children’s wellbeing.

“Right now, the negative effects of the cost-of-living crisis, the disruption of the pandemic to young people’s education and the ongoing decline om children’s happiness are on a collision course,” he said.

“School is a vital setting to influence children’s wellbeing, but they need more support as the reality of what’s facing children and the lack of a holistic response is a national scandal.

“We need a faster roll-out of mental health support teams in schools alongside early support hubs in every local community.

“And there needs to be more support for children whose families are struggling to make ends meet with free school meals available to all children on Universal Credit.

“There is nowhere to hide from the ensuring wellbeing catastrophe unless urgent action is taken.”

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