Posted: 13 September 2016

The links between well-being and mental health

In this year’s Good Childhood Report, we present the latest statistics, trends and insights into how good life is from the perspective of children themselves.

Our research has focused on children’s assessments of how their lives are going, their subjective well-being, as this is where we feel we can add most value.

In this year’s report we also combine a measure of psychological well-being to assess how many children could be said to be ‘flourishing’.

We found that 82% of children were ‘flourishing’, 10% could be said to be ‘languishing’, and around 8% fall between these two groups.

One in ten children feel that life lacks purpose

It is reassuring to know that most children are faring well, but worrying that one in ten children – or three children in every classroom - feel both unhappy with their lives and that life lacks meaning and purpose.

Well-being and mental health

This year’s report also explores how different aspects of well-being and different types of mental health problems relate to each other.

As they get older, girls become less happy than boys with their appearance and life as a whole, and more likely to experience emotional health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Stat on girls and happiness

 

An important new finding is that emotional problems are associated with happiness with appearance and life as a whole, and these links are strongest for girls.

For boys, there is a different picture. It is younger boys that are more likely than girls to be unhappy with their school work and to have conduct and hyperactivity/ inattention problems.

These gender differences disappear from age 12 onwards.

These findings need concerted action to improve life for children.

All children need access to mental health support

We are calling on the Government to make a firm commitment to measuring and acting on children’s well-being, and to introduce a legally binding entitlement for children to be able to access mental health and well-being support in schools and further education colleges across England. 

By Larissa Pople - Research team
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