A third of young people in Suffolk say mental health has gotten worse

Children mental health

Suffolk Mind research revealed in 2020-21, 35 percent of children and young people said their mental health had become worse - Credit: RODNAE Productions/Pexels/House of Commons

During the pandemic more than a third of young people in Suffolk, 35%, said their mental health had worsened, according to research from Suffolk Mind.

The news comes as Ipswich's MP Tom Hunt told the Education Committee that the prevalence of social media could make issues like bullying "inescapable".

Suffolk Mind has launched an initiative to support the mental health of primary and nursery aged school children to mark Children’s Mental Health Week, February 7 to 13.

Suffolk Mind’s children and young people’s trainer

Louise Harris, Suffolk Mind’s children and young people’s trainer. - Credit: Louise Harris

Louise Harris, Suffolk Mind’s children and young people’s trainer, said: “The last two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone. Children have experienced periods of being unable to see their friends, as well as disruption to their sleeping patterns while learning from home.

“Sleep and community, which includes socialising, are two of the 12 physical and emotional needs people should meet to support their wellbeing. It’s no surprise over a third of children and young people reported a decline in their mental health during the pandemic."

Last month, following the news that children and young people are not receiving the mental health care they need a spokesperson for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: "Although we are under pressure, we urge anyone who needs help with their emotional wellbeing to please come forward. We will always prioritise emergency and urgent cases, seeing emergency cases within a day and urgent cases within four days on average.”

Tom Hunt hopes that we are starting to see the end of Covid for good.

Tom Hunt said that when he was at school social media was much less prevalent and problems at school didn't follow you home through platforms like they can now though sites like Instagram and Snapchat - Credit: House of Commons

Meanwhile, Tom Hunt spoke at a hearing on children’s mental health at the Commons Education Select Committee, he spoke of his own experience of not having his education needs identified and that impact on his wellbeing at the time.

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He said: "I was dyslexic, dyspraxic, back of the classroom eyes glazed over not understanding why I couldn't process information in the same way as other people.

"If they [students] feel like the system is failing them, they turn against that system."

On the topic on social media, Mr Hunt said: "I can imagine, if you are a victim of bullying at school, back in the day at least when you got home you can feel that that was a bit of escape.

“With social media and all these different devices, it must feel for some young people that they can never escape.”

To find out more about how to help young people, visit Suffolk Mind.