Toll of children suffering emotional despair in Leeds

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Tormented by bullies and struggling to cope with stress, many children in Leeds are plummeting into a cycle of emotional despair.

One in three young people in the city will suffer from poor emotional health at some point in their childhood.

And one in five young people do not agree with the statement “I enjoy my life”.

A report from Leeds Community Foundation reveals at any time one child in ten has poor mental health or emotional wellbeing – this amounts to over 18,000 children in our city.

The shocking report lays bare a catalogue of problems facing the city’s youngsters.

The YEP is examining each of the issues raised in the damning document throughout the week as the city strives to become one of the most child friendly in the country.

And the impact of poor emotional wellbeing can lead to serious problems both inside and outside the classroom.

Poor emotional health could cause bad behaviour in school which could result in a drop in attendance and poor attainment.

Almost a quarter of high school pupils report that they feeling stressed most days or every day.

Bullying is a major cause of poor mental ill-health in children and more than one-third claim to have been bullied in school within the last year.

And the Foundation warns that as the toll of children’s emotional wellbeing increasingly becomes an issue the prevalence of self-harm is also rising.

Hospital staff in Leeds have reported an increase in the number of youngsters needing their support and care because young people have attempted to harm themselves.

But one in four young people in Leeds do not know who to turn to in a bid to get help and support with emotional issues.

Leeds Community Foundation has launched a new fund which aims to support the vision for Leeds to become the most child friendly city.

They aim to raise £100,000 to support charities and groups which help some of our city’s most vulnerable children and young people.

Tomorrow the YEP will look at the impact of substance misuse on the city’s children.


The power of play can help to boost the emotional wellbeing of children across the city.

And Better Leeds Communities help to champion children’s rights to play outside.

Based in Burley the project, which was formerly known as Burley Lodge Centre, helps to give thousands of children the chance to simply enjoy growing up.

The charity, which has received support from Leeds Community Foundation, encourages youngsters to play outdoors and helps them take pride in their communities.

Gwyn Harrup from the project said: “There is lots of research about play and the right to play out for children which has an impact on emotional health.

“Free time allows children to follow their own imaginations.

“Play can also help children to explore any mental health issues but a lot of children don’t have back gardens and don’t really play out any more.

“The big difference we see is confidence and we encourage them to take a sense of pride in the community.”


Leeds Community Foundation have launched a Children and Young People Fund to support some of the city’s most vulnerable children.


Text the following letters and the amount you wish to donate: LCFF55 £10 to 70070 (donations of £3, £5, £10 can be submitted via text – T&Cs on LCF website)

Cheques payable to Leeds Community Foundation and post to LCF, first floor, 51a St Paul’s Street, Leeds, LS1 2TE.

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