Almost two thirds of primary school children in the UK worry “all the time” according to a new survey.
Mental health charity Place2Be has polled more than 700 children between the ages of ten and 12 from England, Scotland and Wales. Participants were asked what kind of things caused them distress and often these feelings occurred. A startling number – 63 per cent – told the charity they worried “all the time”.
Two fifths said their concerns can get in the way of their schoolwork and 30 per cent claimed that once they start worrying they cannot stop.
More than half of the children surveyed – 54 per cent – said issues with their family caused them to worry either “a lot” or “all the time”. Friends’ well-being was cited by 48 per cent of children as a similar cause for concern.
Place2Be Chief Executive Catherine Roche explained that although adults “like to think of primary school as an innocent, happy time … in reality we know that young children can worry about a lot of things”. Although feelings like this are natural, “if these worries become more serious or persistent, it’s important that children know where they can turn for help” she said.
Despite these worrying statistics, there were also some positive findings in the survey. The vast majority – 84 per cent – of children thought it was very important that they are kind to one another. Similarly high numbers said that if one of their classmates was upset they would ask how they were, try to cheer them up and listen to them.
Roche was encouraged by these results and claimed that “seemingly small things, like asking someone how they are or listening to them, can make a big difference” to someone who is stressed or worried. Children need to “learn to look out for each other, and know how to get help if they need it” because those “are skills that will last a lifetime” she said.
Read more results from the Place2Be survey here.