ALMOST a quarter of children in York are unhappy with their mental health, a new report has found.

Children's Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza said those currently between nine and 17 are not 'snowflakes', but "veterans of a global crisis".

More than half a million school pupils across the country were polled as part of the commissioner's Big Ask survey between April and May.

In York, 1,018 children aged between nine and 17 responded to a question on their mental health – with 23 per cent saying they were unhappy with it.

Meanwhile, 12 per cent of kids said they were unhappy with their physical health, four per cent with their friendships and 9 per cent with their life overall.

Dame Rachel said: “They have seen how colossally frightening life can be, far too young, and have made a lot of sacrifices.

“But they have endured and are emerging stronger and prematurely wise. Bruised, yes, and in many cases seriously vulnerable, but, for the most part, happy, optimistic and determined.

“They are a survivor generation – a sleeves‑up, pragmatic generation, with civic‑minded aspirations.”

The report is calling for a comprehensive catch-up package for schools, a faster expansion of mental health support teams, and stronger safeguards for social media platforms.

The top worries with the highest reports nationally were having enough money to buy the things they need and whether they will grow up to benefit from a healthy planet.

In York, 44 per cent of children said they were worried about having a healthy environment and planet. Meanwhile 41 per cent of pupils have anxiety about having enough money to buy the things they need.

On the whole, pupils in the area are less optimistic than kids elsewhere.

Though around 48 per cent said it is likely they will have a better life than their parents, compared to 52 per cent across England.

Helen Westerman, the NSPCC’s head of Local Campaigns, said: “Children and families in York and across the country have faced an incredibly turbulent time over last 18 months, and we know that many young people have struggled with their mental health as a result of the pandemic.

“There’s no doubt children are dealing with unprecedented pressures and worries – the most important thing we can do is remind them they do not have to face these pressures alone.

“Parents and carers can help by having regular conversations with children about how they’re feeling and if they have any worries, but if they’re not ready or able to speak to you, our Childline service offers round-the-clock support and a safe space for children to turn to, whatever difficulties they are facing.”

Children and young people can contact Childline's helpline by calling 0800 1111.

In a joint statement, City of York Council and the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said mental health is "at the forefront of our public health response".

A spokesperson said: "The council fully recognise the struggles faced by young people throughout the pandemic. The impact on their academic and social lives has been profound, and we are continuing to work closely with health and community partners in order to meet their needs.

"Mental health issues are at the forefront of our public health response, and there are numerous services and portals that can be accessed by both young people and their parents."

  • General queries about mental health services available in York can be found via Offer/mental-health.htm
  • The School Wellbeing Service helps young people to support their peers in school as well as offering access to specialist practitioners, while advice and support is available locally including online via 
  • To find out about the school wellbeing service visit

Meanwhile education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the Government has already taken action to address young people's concerns, including an Online Safety Bill, committing to Net Zero and hosting COP26 later this year.

He added: “We know that the pandemic hit young people hard, which is why we have launched a tutoring revolution to make sure they catch up and bolstered mental health support in schools.

"As we drive to level up oportunities across the country, we will continue prioritising young people’s wellbeing alongside academic success."