Over a million children worry about family financial pressures

By agency reporter
December 6, 2018

A recent survey from the Mental Health Foundation has found that over one in four (26 per cent) schoolchildren aged between 10 and 15 are worried or sad about their families not having enough money.

The survey of 1,323 schoolchildren in Britain was carried out by YouGov as part of the charity’s ‘Make It Count’ campaign and looked at the key sources of anxiety in young people.

This finding adds to a body of evidence which shows that financial pressures are a major cause of stress and mental health problems. Earlier this year, the Mental Health Foundation found that one in five adults (22 per cent) said that ‘not having enough money to meet basic needs’ caused them stress. This was one of the top three listed sources of stress in the nationwide survey.

A separate study has shown that half of UK adults in problem debt are also living with poor mental health, including anxiety, low mood and diagnosed mental health problems.

According to the latest child and adolescent mental health statistics for England, children living in households in the lowest 20 per cent income bracket are more than twice as likely to develop mental health problems as those living in households in the highest 20 per cent income bracket.

Feelings of sadness and worry can seriously impact on children’s day-to-day lives, affecting their ability to sleep and do schoolwork, as well as causing arguments. With four children in every classroom in England living with a mental health problem, it is time to address this epidemic.

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said: “Our survey highlights that many children are seriously worried about their parents’ finances. We have a responsibility to help children to deal with this and other pressures they are facing in today’s society.  

“This is why we’re calling for mental health to be at the heart of what children learn in school. Schools can play a much bigger role in equipping children with the skills they need.

"Children are currently facing enormous challenges to their mental health – with rising rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm. More evidence based programmes, like our Peer Education Project, could be running in schools across the country to address this trend.”

* The survey Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 and associated documents are available  here

* Mental Health Foundation https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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