Sunday, 7 August 2016

Our unhappy children - why is there no outcry?

One year ago, a major study found that the UK's kids are "among the unhappiest in the world".

This was news for one day. A few weeks later, there was a Huffington Post blog on this issue, which was only shared about 100 times.

The Guardian reported on shocking levels of violence at school, with 38% of 10-12 yrs old being attacked each month.  How much pressure "to succeed" our we putting on kids with all the tests and exams? New "Academy" schools are turning kids away with special needs, robbing them of the education they deserve.

In January, Childline raised the issue with it's own evidence.
The charity conducted 23,530 counselling sessions for kids in 1986-87. In 2014-15 they did 286,812.

The reasons are complex and need to be better understood.  Money doesn't explain all of it, but appears a fair place to start as around 30% of our kids are brought up in poverty. As for the two-thirds of kids not in poverty....how anxious are teenagers about how they will afford a home, or avoid mountains of debt?  

But it's not just the money.  

An epidemic of insecure work is placing intolerable pressure upon our families.

For years it's been known that girls are under lots of pressure about body shape. But the help available is getting worse and not better. It's perverse that girls with anorexia are being turned away because they are "not thin enough".

Our government has responded to all of this by slashing the funding for kids mental health services.

It's obvious that domestic violence and other forms of abuse will make kids extremely unhappy. Why then are we allowing extreme cuts for the already inadequate services that help? Refuge, the largest provider of services for domestic abuse, has seen funding cut by 80% since 2011.

Cuts to legal aid are removing access to justice for parents fighting for safe homes. 

The happiness of our kids is something most of us care about a lot.  These problems require radical political solutions. Meanwhile, our children are growing up fast under a government that doesn't understand and doesn't care.

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