In the UK 24% of girls and 9% of boys have high levels of depressive symptoms at age 14 (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, London)

Depression, anxiety & low self-esteem in children is associated with poorer outcomes in later life!

  • Recent increase in counselling for anxiety & low self-esteem in children: 17% 17%
  • Increase in child counselling for anxiety & low self-esteem over the last 5 years: 53% 53%
  • Percentage of schools reporting increase in pupil low self-esteem: 80% 80%
  • Percentage of children reporting low life-satisfaction: 14% 14%
  • Percentage of children who were bullied in the previous two months: 55% 55%
  • Percentage of children unhappy with their body size or shape: 48% 48%
  • Children aged 11-16 suffering from loss of confidence and self-esteem: 13% 13%
  • Percentage of children not receiving appropriate early intervention: 75% 75%

Did you know that low self-esteem in children can translate into mental distress, obesity & unemployment in adulthood?

The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030 more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem!

The warning signs

Children, teenagers, and young adults are particularly vulnerable to low self-esteem and confidence

Today’s youngsters struggle more with these issues than ever before.

Symptoms of low self-esteem and confidence can vary from one child to another, but common symptoms include:


  • Feeling isolated and lonely
  • Projecting a low opinion of oneself
  • Feeling down
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Feeling anxious or helpless
  • Losing interest and motivation
  • Feeling unable to cope
  • Constantly worrying
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Regularly feeling unhappy
The causes

Life has never been more difficult for children or their parents.

Hearing the knock on your door and watching your child going out to play with their friends rarely happens nowadays. You’re more likely to find them alone in their bedroom, playing an online game or browsing social media websites.

This lonely virtual world is negatively affecting the development of their social skills, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Mass media pressures to have the “perfect body shape”, together with an 88% rise in social network cyber bullying, are making matters worse.

Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen says, “It’s striking how many more children seem to be suffering serious mental health problems today than when we launched Childline 30 years ago”.

Recently, Childline reported an 87% increase in counselling for young people who were experiencing difficulties in accessing local support services.

Future effects and dangers

Recent research highlights that low self-esteem in childhood is related to a number of adult outcomes, including mental distress, self-rated health problems, obesity, and unemployment.

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) report: Social and emotional skills in childhood and their long term effects on adult life clearly highlights these dangers.

Mental ill-health among children, September 2017, Centre for Longitudinal Studies conclude: Half of all cases of adult mental illness start by the age of 14, meaning prevention and early support for children is vital.

Antidepressants can be a threat too. These drugs cause numerous unpleasant side effects, including worsening anxiety and lower self-esteem.

The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030 more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem.

The global failure to tackle depression and anxiety is costing the world nearly $1 trillion a year in lost productivity.

The problem

Depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem in children are spreading at an alarming pace, and 75% don’t receive the appropriate early intervention they need

More about the problem

By 2030, mental health problems (particularly depression) will be the leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally, meaning the future for today’s teenagers doesn’t look healthy because, without the appropriate early intervention, many will carry depression into adulthood.

Making matters worse, current funding on global mental health is virtually non-existent. For example, for every £1 the British government spends, the public invests £2.75 for cancer and only £0.003p (or one-third of a penny) for mental health.

Because of the widening spread of depression and the absence of investment, existing public health services have become overwhelmed and long waiting lists have developed. As a result of this, young people don’t get the help they need at the moment they need it.

Similarly, it could be many years before schools will be fully equipped to individually help every young person develop the self-understanding and the self-esteem they need to face the world with confidence.


If you’re worried about your child, we can help! Start with our Free Child Mental Health Check. It’s the first step toward happier days for them (and you).

Free Child Mental Health Check

The check is free. Your child is priceless!