UK youth among world’s unhappiest in wellbeing study

A recent international study on the mental wellbeing of young people has ranked Britain as one of the lowest countries for youth happiness. The study looked at wellbeing, rather than mental health, through surveying people in areas such as optimism, confidence and a sense of being loved.

A sample of 15-21 year olds was taken across 20 countries.

The survey was carried out by the Varkey Foundation, who published a report entitled “What the world’s young people think and feel.”

The aim of the study, according to Varkey’s chief executive Vikas Potas, was to provide “a detailed overview of wellbeing, hopes and values,” in a generation who “may conceivably live to see the 22nd century.”

Globally, 59 percent of young people stated they felt “happy with their life overall.” The survey also commented that men were more likely to say they felt happy than women.

It was found that just 15 percent of young people across Britain feel they get enough sleep and exercise, with issues of health among the top causes of worry for “around a quarter” of young people across all 20 countries.

The study also looked at optimism for the future, at a time of national and global change.

The factor considered most important in thinking about the future was family, according to 47 percent of young people globally. The lowest factor in considering a future career was fame and celebrity status, with just 3 percent of respondents emphasising this.

Potas said, “Teenagers in Nigeria, New Delhi and New York share many of same priorities, fears, ambitions and opinions.”

He added, “There is far more unity among young people than a glance at the headlines would suggest.”

At the moment, UEA offers a variety of services to look after the mental wellbeing of students, including Norwich Nightline, open from 8pm to 8am and Student Support Service, who advise on finance, student conduct and harassment, and study.


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February 2021
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