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A Broken System Change Needed Voice of the Child

States of Mind: impact of school on mental health

States of Mind, an organisation dedicated to the wellbeing of young people, focuses on understanding and addressing the social causes of young people’s distress and on providing young people with the tools to increase their wellbeing. One project, Breaking the Silence, adopted a Participatory Action Research model to put young people at the centre of the research to understand the impact of the school system on young people’s wellbeing. This research, which gave voice to the stress experienced by young people as a result of school – in the words of one young person “higher stress levels, anxiety, depression, fear, isolation” – has spawned other work to try and bring about change, including a letter to Ofsted.

Headline findings

  • Only 12.96% of participants responded that their mental health was supported by the education system, raising massive questions about the impact of the education system on the wellbeing of young people. 38.06% disagreed with the statement, while 15.38% strongly disagreed.
  • We also found as little as 17.41% thought exams prepare students well for life. 53.16% of students either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, while 19.43% said they were not sure. This brings into question what the purpose of exams actually is, if not to prepare young people for future life.
  • Just 18.29% of students thought the education system supported the individual needs of students with the majority (59.75%) disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the statement.

Read it in full

The impact of school on young people’s mental health: a UCL doctoral student shares his findings, States of Mind

Introducing our youth-led research project, Breaking the Silence, States of Mind (Sept 2020)


Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

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