New Report Published On Young People's Mental Health

A new mental health survey has revealed a 'slight' increase in the number of young people with "concerns or worries about their mental health".

The Department of Health have published the 'Young Persons Behaviour & Attitudes Survey 2019: Mental Health & Wellbeing' report – a school based survey carried out among 11-16 year olds (school years 8 to 12).

The reports key findings include:

• Around three-fifths of respondents (58%) reported hardly ever or never feeling lonely; 36% reported feeling lonely occasionally or some of the time, whilst 6% reported feeling lonely often or always

• Girls were more likely than boys to report feeling left out, alone, and having no-one to talk to

• When asked whether they ever had concerns or worries about their mental health, 15% of respondents indicated they definitely have had concerns and a further 27% indicated to some extent. The corresponding findings from the previous survey in 2016 were 11% and 24%

• Over half (57%) of those who had concerns did not seek help; the most common reason given for not seeking help was that they felt they could handle things on their own

• On both the Stirling Children's Wellbeing Scale and the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, girls had a lower mean wellbeing score than boys and mean wellbeing score decreased as you went up the school year groups

• The majority of respondents (95%) have family/friends who make them feel an important part of their lives. Similarly high proportions were found across the social support questions relating to having people to rely on, people to take care of them, people who make them feel loved and people who provide support and encouragement

• The majority of respondents (96%) used at least one social media site and of those who did so, 85% reported using it daily or on most days

• Girls (44%) were more likely than boys (13%) to compare themselves to others on social media, to monitor the number of likes/comments/shares their posts get (47% of girls compared with 34% of boys), and to feel that their mood is impacted by this (23% of girls and 12% of boys)

• Exploratory analysis suggests that the following factors may be associated with mental health concerns or worries: higher loneliness score, lower wellbeing score, older school year group, school type (grammar compared with secondary), use of drugs, drinking alcohol, some elements of social media use, and thoughts on body size. It should be noted that this analysis is limited to those demographic and health variables that are captured in the survey and is reflective of a single point in time.

The report is commissioned jointly by a number of government departments and includes questions on a wide range of topics. Seven rounds of the survey have now taken place: 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. This publication presents an overview of the mental health and wellbeing modules from the 2019 survey.

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