One in four 14-year-old girls self-harm, reports Children’s Society

The Children’s Society | August 2018 | The Good Childhood Report 2018

Every year The Children’s Society produces a wellbeing report, a comprehensive report into children’s wellbeing to hear what children have to say about their lives, what makes them happy and what needs to be improved for this generation. 

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Image source: childrenssociety.org.uk

Key findings from the report:

  • Pressure to fit in with society’s expectations is making children unhappy
  • Alarming numbers of children are self-harming
  • Non-stop comments about appearance are harmful to girls’ well-being
  • Outdated gender stereotypes are damaging to boys’ and girls’ happiness
  • Family relationships are particularly important for girls

Children’s Society press release One in four 14-year-old girls self-harm

Read the full report at The Children’s Society

The Good Child Summary report  available here 

 

In the media:

BBC News Quarter of 14 year old girls self-harm 

The Telegraph Quarter of 14 year old girls self-harm, study finds, amid warning of ‘crisis in children’s mental health’ 

The Guardian Quarter of 14-year-old girls in UK have self-harmed, report finds

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Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Royal Society for Public Health | May 2018| #StatusOfMind  Social media and Young people’s mental health and wellbeing

This report from Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) explores the positive and negative impact of social media on young people aged between 16-24, and their mental health and wellbeing. It also includes a league table of five social media platforms which have been ranked in order of their net impact on young people’s health and wellbeing by young people.

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Image source: .rsph.org.u

The RSPH calls for

  1. The introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media
  2. Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated
  3. NHS England to apply the Information Standard Principles to health information published via social media
  4. Safe social media use to be taught during PSHE education in school
  5.  Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts and other data, and discreetly signpost to support
  6. Youth-workers and other professionals who engage with young people to have a digital (including social) media component in their training
  7. More research to be carried out into the effects of social media on young people’s mental health

The report can be downloaded here 

Social media use at age 10 could reduce wellbeing of adolescent girls

Social media use may have different effects on wellbeing in adolescent boys and girls, according to research | BMC Public Health | Story via ScienceDaily

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Researchers at the University of Essex and UCL found an association between increased time spent on social media in early adolescence (age 10) and reduced wellbeing in later adolescence (age 10-15) — but only among girls.

The study used data from the youth panel of the UK Household Panel Study — a large national survey which interviews all members of a household annually, from 2009 — 2015. A total of 9,859 UK adolescents aged 10 to 15 years completed questions on how many hours they spent interacting on social media sites on a typical school day.

The authors found that adolescent girls used social media more than boys and social media interaction increased with age for both boys and girls. At age 13, about a half of girls were interacting on social media for more than 1 hour per day, compared to just one third of boys. By age 15, both genders increased their social media use but girls continued to use social media more than boys, with 59% of girls and 46% of boys interacting on social media for one or more hours per day.

Wellbeing appeared to decline throughout adolescence in both boys and girls, as reflected in scores for happiness and other aspects of wellbeing, although findings indicated that girls experienced more negative aspects of wellbeing.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Cara L. Booker, Yvonne J. Kelly, Amanda Sacker | Gender differences in the associations between age trends of social media interaction and well-being among 10-15 year olds in the UK | BMC Public Health | 2018

Children’s mental health care in England

Children’s voices: a review of evidence on the subjective wellbeing of children with mental health needs in England | The Children’s Commissioner for England

This report summarises the published qualitative evidence on the subjective wellbeing of children with mental health needs and draws out key findings from the evidence, identifying important gaps.

The Commissioner has also published Briefing: children’s mental healthcare in England.  This briefing, sent to all MPs, sets out the Commissioner’s concerns around the lack of access to mental health support services for children.

Full report available here

Young people’s views on gender, emotional well-being and mental health

This report presents young people’s views on how they cope with difficulties and seek help, with a focus on the role of gender | National Children’s Bureau

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Image source: NCB

Our surveys and face-to-face engagement with more than 100 young people generated some key findings:

  •  Some healthy ways of managing stress are widely acceptable to both male and female young people we surveyed: for example, having fun and exercising.
  •  Young people are very aware of expectations on boys and men to appear strong and not show emotion.
  •  Sharing problems with others seems more widely acceptable among the young women than young men, although not as clearly as common stereotypes might suggest.
  • Some girls and young women described feeling that their difficulties are belittled by adults when they try to seek support. They perceived assumptions that girls’ distress is due to overemotional reactions to minor issues with friendships and relationships. Some girls and young women expressed uncertainty about trusting female friends, although other females were an important source of support.
  • The few trans young people we heard from did feel that gender stereotypes affected how they cope and sought help, to different degrees and in different ways. Two commented on the need for greater professional understanding of gender identity.
  • The areas in which the young people most wanted to see greater gender-sensitivity were information about support available; support within settings like schools, youth clubs and youth offending institutions; and how professionals relate to young people

Read the full report here

Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children

An increasing body of research is showing associations between green space and overall health. Children are spending more time indoors while pediatric mental and behavioral health problems are increasing | Journal of Pediatric Nursing

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A systematic review of the literature was done to examine the association between access to green space and the mental well-being of children.

Twelve articles relating to green space and the mental well-being of children were reviewed. Three articles outside the date criteria were included as they are cited often in the literature as important early research on this topic.

Access to green space was associated with improved mental well-being, overall health and cognitive development of children. It promotes attention restoration, memory, competence, supportive social groups, self-discipline, moderates stress, improves behaviors and symptoms of ADHD and was even associated with higher standardized test scores.

Full reference: McCormick, R. (2017) Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children: A Systematic Review. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 4 September 2017

Against the Odds: putting young black men’s wellbeing first

How could young African Caribbean men’s resilience be improved? | Centre for Mental Health

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Image source: Centre for Mental Health

Three Birmingham-based projects (the Up My Street programme) were commissioned by Mind to improve young black men’s resilience. Our evaluation sought to ascertain whether the programme was successful, and what elements were especially effective.

The evaluation was funded by Comic Relief and completed in partnership with peer researchers, to obtain an in-depth look at the challenges facing young African Caribbean men, and how their resilience can be enhanced in the face of these struggles.

The Up My Street projects reached out to young men with a range of relatable male role models and created culturally informed safe spaces. Young men had experiences of co-producing activities to strengthen their self-esteem, self-belief, personal development and skills.