23/02/2012 19:24 GMT | Updated 23/02/2012 19:26 GMT

More Youngsters Seeking Counselling For Mental Health Problems And Depression

Young people are increasingly turning to professional help for mental health problems and anger management, according to new research with family issues, low self-esteem and social media all cited as problem areas.

In a poll of 143 counsellors at Relate, the country's largest provider of relationship support and which sees around 15,000 youngsters each year, 64% said that mental health and depression was the most common new issue affecting young people, and that more young people were being referred for mental health problems.

Other issues include an increase in family break-up (cited by 41% of counsellors), parents having mental health conditions (23%) and pressures of social media (21%). Other reasons include dealing with parents splitting up, low self-esteem and managing anger.

Sharon Chapman, Relate young people's counsellor, told the Press Association: "We know that young people under stress may express their feelings of anger in destructive ways, but unless we tackle the causes rather than focusing on the behaviour we are creating a cycle that may be hard to break.

"Children look to their parents and families to learn how to express feelings safely; so make time to talk with them, find out what bothers them, upsets them. Try to listen without judging or telling them what to do.

"Work out together how to tackle difficult or painful feelings and stressful situations. Boost their self worth and notice when they do well."

A separate poll of more than 1,000 teenagers aged 13 to 18 found one in 10 said no one inspired them.

Almost three-quarters (74%) said they had felt stressed at least sometimes over the last month, with 31% saying they felt stressed often or all the time. Girls were more likely to feel stressed than boys. Some 37% of girls said they felt stressed often or all the time over the last month, compared to 24% of boys.

More than one in five teenagers said they had most recently been let down by a friend (22%) followed by 11% saying a politician.

Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns and Policy at YoungMinds, told The Huffington Post UK she was not surprised by the findings.

"Young people today are growing up in a harsh environment with ever increasing stress to perform at school, next to zero job prospects and the constant pressure to keep up with the latest consumer trends," she said.

"These figures are sadly not a surprise given the intense pressures young people face in today' society.

"Social networking provides the opportunity for ever greater circles of 'friends' but creates a constant platform of pressure for young people with nowhere to hide from bullying.

"The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030 more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem. Everyone should take responsibility for the next generation if we don't want these projected figures to become a reality, parents need the tools to give their children the necessary support, schools need to place much more emphasis on teaching emotional resilience and coping skills and services that intervene early when mental health problems first arise need to be given much greater priority and appropriate investment."

These latest figures come just weeks after research by the website,, revealed an increase in young people resorting to alcohol to combat feelings of stress brough on by the economic downturn.'s poll of more than 2,000 people found that some 24% of under-25s admitted to drinking more heavily since the start of the economic crisis.

Official figures for England released last November showed the number of young people not in education, employment or training (Neet) has risen to a record level.

There were 1,163,000 people aged 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training, according to the most recent quarterly figures - almost one in five young people.

In some towns and cities, the figure is one in four.