Poll finds mental health issues starting from four

09 May 2017

Children as young as four are suffering from panic attacks, anxiety and depression, a poll has found.


A poll of 2051 teaching staff found 98% of them had come into contact with pupils experiencing mental health issues.

Of those polled – all members of the teachers’ union NASUWT – 91% said they were aware of pupils suffering from panic attacks, 79% suspected depression and 64% knew a student who was self-harming.

While most of the children in question were teenagers – with 58% of teachers saying they had seen issues in 15 to 16-year-olds – almost a fifth (18%) said they had been in contact with four- to seven-year-olds showing mental health issues.

The impact of these problems was seen in a pupil’s inability to concentrate, participate fully and make friends.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said teachers were concerned about the difficulties faced in getting help for children with mental health needs, adding that cuts to budgets and services in local authorities had ‘taken a heavy toll on the support available’.

Among the reasons cited for the increase in mental health problems among children and teenagers were family problems such as ill health or break-ups (according to 91% of teachers), the pressure of exams (84%), social media (72%), the pressure to do well academically (71%) and bullying (36%).


98% of teaching staff come into contact with pupils with mental health issues

91% said they were aware of pupils suffering panic attacks

79% suspected depression in pupils they worked with