Exclusive: YoungMinds poll reveals toxic climate for young people

Clare Jerrom
20 Jan 2014

One third of children and young people don’t know where to turn to get help when they feel depressed or anxious, according to our exclusive YoungMinds poll released today.

The results of the poll of 2,000 young people is published to coincide with the launch of YoungMinds biggest campaign to date today, YoungMinds Vs, which calls for a mass movement campaigning for better mental health for children and young people

The poll reveals that children and young people are growing up in a “toxic climate” and finds:  

  • Over half of children and young people believe they will be a failure if they don’t get good grades
  • Over half of  11-14 year olds have viewed online pornography with four out of ten of these saying it has affected their relationships with others of their age
  • Half of children and young people have been bullied
  • Four out of ten 11-14 year olds skip meals to stay thin
  • One third of children and young people don’t know where to turn to get help when they feel depressed or anxious.

As a result, YoungMinds Vs will be campaigning about five key issues as part of the over-arching campaign to improve children and young people’s mental health. These five key issues are:- school stress, access to counselling, bullying, unemployment and sexual pressures.

Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns at YoungMinds said: “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 and in their communities for better  mental health and emotional wellbeing.”

Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition, who is backing the campaign said: “I’m delighted to help launch this important campaign.

“YoungMinds’ survey exposes some of the pressures children are under in Britain today, from bullying and sexualisation to worries about job prospects. And when they feel depressed, too many young people are afraid to speak out or find a lack of support when they do.

“Good mental health is essential for children to thrive and succeed. That’s why we must ensure all young people have access to the help and support they need, when they need it.

“Mental health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age, and young people’s mental health must be a top priority for Britain,” he added.

Young people will be at the centre of the campaign and YoungMinds will create a national charter for change to improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing based around the 5 areas above. The campaign will be backed by thousands of young people and hundreds of organisations.

In addition:-

  • An Activist Network of over 1,500 young people will raise awareness of the campaign in their communities and online.
  • Hundreds of Media Champions will represent the campaign in the media - galvanising the voice of children and young people seeking change.
  • Young people will work with local and national decision makers to directly influence services and support for young people.

YoungMinds Vs is being funded by The Big Lottery fund from its Reaching Communities programme and Comic Relief.



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  • Anita Staff
    about 3 years ago

    Young people face two major obstacles today. The stigma surrounding mental health and the major cuts to services which are causing more costs to the taxpayer in the long run. The campaign should show the Government they are not stupid but acutely aware of how they are threatening our very future. We made a film about the stigma surrounding mental health. Have a look. http://www.mentaleast.org.uk/

  • Anonymous commenter
    about 3 years ago

    I want to support your campaign. A very simailar report was issued by the Prince's Trust. Together we might be able to address this.


  • Anonymous commenter
    about 3 years ago

    fully support this as i work with young people as a Counsellor and this is not valued enough as a profession and current need.

  • Neal Terry
    about 3 years ago

    Where is it published? Very interested but I can't find it other than what's on this page?

  • Pete English
    about 3 years ago

    This Way Up is fully behind you. We work with young people affected by parental separation and bereavement. This term we have seen 114 young people just in our local schools.
    Pete English
    This Way Up

  • Anonymous commenter
    about 3 years ago

    I work in a University as a Student Pastoral Officer and it is staggering the footfall that comes through my door of young adults dealing with, insecurities, emotional apathy, rejection. It is unintelligent of the government to cut budgets.

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