77% of teens with mental health problems blame school

Studies find the pressure to succeed at school has a significant impact on pupils' mental health

Catherine Lough

Girl with counsellor

More than three-quarters of young people seeking mental health support say the pressure to achieve academic success played a significant role, a survey shows.

And other figures reveal that nearly a fifth of children who have been bullied have been left feeling suicidal.

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Mental health charity YoungMinds surveyed more than 7,000 young people under the age of 25 who have sought help for their mental health in the UK.

It found that 77 per cent felt academic pressure had been a significant factor affecting their mental health.

And half of those surveyed said they had turned to teachers while waiting for mental health support, while 71 per cent said they had relied on friends.

However, the survey revealed the difficulties faced by young people when seeking support for their mental health.

Over two-thirds of respondents – 67 per cent – said they had been unable to find help for their mental health when they first needed it, while three-quarters – 77 per cent – of respondents said they had had to manage their mental health on their own while waiting for support.

Emma Thomas, chief executive of YoungMinds, said: “Many schools are doing excellent work in promoting mental health and providing support, but we also need to look at the pressures on young people that can cause problems in the first place.”

Recent statistics released by anti-bullying charity The Diana Award show that bullying also has a significant impact on pupils’ mental health.

A survey carried out for its #Back2School anti-bullying campaign found that 57 per cent of young people had been bullied at school, with nearly a fifth of pupils – 17 per cent – reporting they had been made to feel suicidal after being bullied.

And over three-quarters of those who had experienced bullying – 78 per cent – said it had made them feel anxious.

More than half of those who had been bullied – 56 per cent – reported they had trouble sleeping.

Alex Holmes, deputy chief executive of The Diana Award, said: “Young people spend 11,000 hours of their lives in full education. School should be safe and free from harmful bullying behaviour. We’re urging everyone to get behind our campaign by helping us to train anti-bullying ambassadors in every school.”

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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