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Place2Be encourages ‘meaningful connections’ as 78% of children who seek support feel anxious socially

New figures from Place2Be reveal that nearly 78% of young people seen by a Place2Be counsellor within the last year, have experienced anxiety in social situations.

Young teenage girl stood alone in playground, looking sad

Our new data also shows that 65% of children and young people seen by Place2Be counsellors in the last year had difficulties interacting with their classmates.

However, with support from Place2Be, 76% of primary and secondary-aged children and young people who started with severe mental difficulties had improved. 

The new findings come in the wake of the pandemic, which saw a challenge to friendships and classroom connections, with many teachers asking for support in helping young people improve their social interactions. 

A lack of meaningful connection is a key driver in loneliness and anxiety, so it is important that young people establish friendships which can allow them to support one another.

In one-to-one sessions with our counsellors, children are telling us how difficult they find it to form and maintain friendships. Forming positive relationships is fundamental to our mental wellbeing and this has been significantly disrupted in recent years. While the statistics around children’s mental health problems are stark, I am optimistic. Through targeted intervention across the school, we can help children and young people become confident, resilient and able to cope with life’s challenges. Disconnection and loneliness should not be a part of school life. Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be

Place2Be's annual Children's Mental Health Week is now in its ninth year. Each year, the week builds awareness of the mental health crisis facing children and young people across the UK and equips schools and families with resources. 

This year’s theme is ‘Let’s Connect’, and with 1 in 6 children suffering with a diagnosable mental health condition in England, Place2Be are encouraging all to connect with others in healthy, rewarding and meaningful ways. 

A series of resources have been designed for the week, including top tips for parents and teachers on having open conversations, advice on developing friendships, activity ideas for schools, and more.

Place2Be is also partnering with Childnet for Safer Internet Day to help teachers guide their students in forming safe and fulfilling friendships online. 

We hope this week that everyone, whether a child or adult, in school, at home or on the bus, has at least one meaningful conversation with someone. Reach out! We need to embed a culture of destigmatizing our mental health to create a brighter future for our young people. Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be

Children’s Mental Health Week is kindly supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, The Beaverbrook Foundation and The Prudence Trust.