https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2017/06/22/learning-more-about-what-keeps-young-people-safe-and-well/

Learning more about what keeps young people safe and well

Protecting the health of young people is vital and to do this we need to understand as much as possible about the issues young people are facing.

To help with this, we’ve published three new reports which focus on what some of the key factors are in protecting the mental wellbeing of 11-15 year olds.

The three reports look at young people’s experiences of cyber-bullying, the wellbeing of adolescent girls, and self-harm.

They’re based on new analysis of the Health Behaviour in School-age Children (HBSC) Survey and the reports will help all those supporting young people to be better placed to keep them safe and well.

They also look at three main areas of young’s people’s lives - family, school and local neighbourhood - and identifies what can help to protect against poor mental wellbeing.

Key findings

Rates of cyberbullying have increased for both boys and girls, with girls being twice as likely to report being bullied than boys.

Young people who say they have strong relationships with their teachers and positive attitudes towards school are significantly less likely to report being cyberbullied.

One in five 15-year-olds in England reported having ever self-harmed with girls being three times more likely than boys to report self-harming.

From comparisons between HBSC England findings and other studies, there is a trend of increasing self-harm among adolescents.

For adolescent girls wellbeing, girls scored lower than boys for life satisfaction and this gender difference increased with age. Girls were also less like to participate in healthy behaviours than boys such as eating breakfast and taking regular exercise and they reported finding communication with parents less easy than their make peers.

The reports also highlight the importance of:

  • good communication with family which enables young people to feel that  “important issues are regularly spoken about”, and that “someone listens to me”
  • at a school level the importance of effective PSHE,  of creating a culture that generates a sense of belonging and safety and that promote good quality relationships between pupils and teachers and between peers
  • at a community level of promoting safety and ensuring young people have access to facilities such as leisure and recreational environments and “good places to spend their free time” as well as initiatives that enable young people to trust people in their local community.

Further support

We have also published a range of other resources to support evidence based action to promote and protect children’s emotional wellbeing and these latest reports will help all of us meet the needs of children and young people better. These include:

  • Children and Young People’s mental health profiling tool
  • School aged years resilience and emotional wellbeing high impact areas resource
  • A guide for a public health approach to young people’ resilience,
  • A toolkit for measuring and monitoring young people’s mental wellbeing for schools and colleges
  • A report on the mental health of children and young people in England.

We hope that these new reports, which give us useful insight into what 11-15 year olds feel are important to their wellbeing, plus these existing resources are helpful to those working to protect the wellbeing of children and young people.

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