Why leaders must start to take children’s wellbeing seriously

The Grenfell Tower tragedy made the connections between inequality and public health far more personal than MPs usually become. A recent Guardian article highlighted the vulnerabilities of those suffering from the diseases of stress…

Why leaders must start to take children’s wellbeing seriously

The Grenfell Tower tragedy made the connections between inequality and public health far more personal than MPs usually become.

A recent Guardian article highlighted the vulnerabilities of those suffering from the diseases of stress and lack of sleep, warning that a generation “will have their lives lived without even an hour of sleep”.

Generations are the key theme of the Children’s Social Health Survey, which is the largest research project into children’s wellbeing ever undertaken.

A consultation involving 12,000 children, conducted by researchers from the Ruhr University Bochum, showed that levels of happiness, certainty, concentration and attention were among the lowest seen in Britain.

They also warned that levels of depression, anxiety and self-harm could be higher than ever seen in the UK – especially for children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

The research also found that the percentage of children and young people getting formal or informal training was the lowest ever recorded.

There are now calls for more serious, policy-based responses.

Tory shadow housing minister Stephen Metcalf says: “Grenfell showed the dangers of neglecting safety and security in the name of affordability and progress – yet the government has repeated those mistakes with misguided bed and breakfast regulations.

“This sort of neglect only feeds back into our children’s health and their chances of success.”

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