UK & World News
Stress: Children Growing Up 'In Toxic Climate'
Britain's youngsters are growing up in an "unprecedented toxic climate" of stress and pressure in a "24/7 online culture where they can never switch off", according to a survey by charity YoungMinds.
In the poll of 2,000 youngsters aged 11 to 25, over half believed they would be a failure if they did not get good grades, half said they had been bullied, while a third said they did not know where to turn to get help when they feel depressed or anxious.
Of the 11 to 14-year-olds questioned, four in 10 said they skipped meals to try to stay thin and over half said they had viewed online pornography, with four out of 10 of these saying it had affected their relationships with others of their age.
Lucie Russell, director of campaigns at YoungMinds, said: "We are sitting on a mental health timebomb."
Frankie Sandford, of The Saturdays, and Labour leader Ed Miliband are among those backing the charity's new campaign YoungMinds Vs, which is calling for improvements across a range of issues that young people say are the biggest they face.
Ms Sandford said: "I get to talk to a lot of young people and I know there are so many who are really suffering and struggling with life.
"That's why I really support the YoungMinds Vs campaign because it's raising awareness of the importance of young people having good mental health and everything that can be done to make that happen, including young people getting access to help when they need it."
Mr Miliband added: "Mental health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age, and young people's mental health must be a top priority for Britain."
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pl to improve the standards of mental health treatment for people of all ages and to end the stigma and discrimination faced by those with mental health issues.
Mr Clegg today launched the Government's new Mental Health Action Plan, which sets out 25 areas where immediate action is called for to improve care, support and treatment.
He said: "All too often, attitudes to mental health are outdated; stuck in the dark ages; full of stigma and stereotypes.
"It's time for us to bring mental health out of the shadows and to give people with mental health conditions the support they need and deserve."
Mr Clegg said that mental illness cost the economy £105bn every year and that life expectancy for a man with severe mental illness was reduced by 20 years compared with the rest of the population, and 15 years for a woman.
He said people with mental health issues would have the same legal right as those with physical conditions to choose where they went for care, including being able to choose the person and provider from April.
The choice would not be limited to an NHS organisation, and patients would also be able to choose from a voluntary or independent provider offering services on the NHS when they went to see their GP to seek help, he added.
New standards on access and waiting times for mental health services are also to be introduced next year, so that patients will know what kind of treatment to expect and when.
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