More than a million schoolchildren worry about family not having enough money

4th Dec 2018

This content mentions anxiety, depression and self-harm. Please read with care. There are details of where to find help at the bottom of this page.

A recent survey from the Mental Health Foundation has found that over one in four (26%) 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 our ‘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%) 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 mental ill-health including anxiety, low mood and diagnosed mental health problems.[2]

According to the latest child and adolescent mental health statistics for England, children living in households in the lowest 20% income bracket are more than twice as likely to develop mental health problems as those living in households in the highest 20% income bracket.[3]

Feelings of sadness and worry can seriously impact 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.[3]

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said:

“Our survey highlights that many children are seriously worried about their parent’s finances. We have a responsibility to help children 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 programs, like our Peer Education Project, could be running in schools across the country to address this trend.”

By signing the Make it Count petition you will support the Mental Health Foundation’s campaign to put mental health at the heart of what children learn in school.

If you are feeling like ending your life or feel unable to keep yourself safe, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress. If you feel affected by the content you have read, please see our get help page for support.

Related content

Make it Count: Guide for teachers

This guide offers suggestions for how teachers can help children do this in the classroom and across the school.

Make it Count: Guide for parents and carers

This guide is for parents and carers to help children understand, protect and sustain their mental health.

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