By ELLIE MULLAN, aged 17
Young people in the UK are suffering more than ever.
A new survey, commissioned by national charity YoungMinds, adds to a growing body of evidence that UK youngsters are among the unhappiest in the world due to stress and pressure at school and online.
Fear of failure, bullying and the burden of trying to feel thin and attractive has led experts to conclude that we are sitting on a ‘mental health time bomb’.
This survey is disconcerting for all who read it, but from a 17-year-old girl’s perspective this is less than a worry – it’s a matter of urgency.
The government needs to act on these findings, starting with the root of the problem – the internet.
Regulations on social networking sites need to be enforced in order to prevent the likelihood of bullying, restrictions on internet pornography need to be put in place and a more repressive scheme on what sites young people are allowed to view should be implemented in order to make the dangerous world of the internet safer for young people.
Less pressure needs to be placed on young people at school – of course it is brilliant to aim high, but as the survey suggests, the never-ending workload and sky high expectations imposed on students could be more detrimental to their learning than effective.
I agree with this from experience – the undeniable pressure from schools to get top grades can actually prohibit you from reaching your potential.
In regards to the worry to stay thin, we all know that the media is to blame.
The constant bombardment of stick-thin models will inevitably change your perceptions on what you consider as ‘healthy’ and ‘beautiful’.
However, things are looking up – celebrities such as Jessica Ennis and Ellie Goulding pride themselves on being fit, not thin.
The rise in healthy role models is growing, and our attitudes to our body shape will change with it.
So, the prospect of growing up in a ‘toxic climate’ is a worrying one.
However, it can be easily changed – with a different mindset and outlook the issues that permeate the youth of today can be stopped.