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Depressing news – Headmaster’s Blog -Wednesday 31st August 2016

August 31, 2016
Ballard School Blog Depressing news PSHE

Depressing News

Department for Education (DfE) research into 30,000 teenagers has discovered that a third of middle-class teenage girls now suffer ‘psychological distress’ – namely anxiety or depression. This is a 10% increase since the survey was last conducted in 2005. It seems, too, that girls were twice as likely to report such symptoms compared to teenage boys whose levels of depression had fallen in the last ten years (or perhaps they are indeed less likely to speak up than girls).
The causes of this increase in stress for teenagers are less easy to identify although the researchers felt that economic concerns (perhaps as communicated by adults to young people) would be one factor although the greatest source of aggravation was put down to social media. In the past young people could escape some of the pressures of school, for example, when they went home in the evening or at weekends. This is no longer so easy to do with online bullying and ‘simple’ relentless digital communication hard to avoid.

At Ballard we are certainly doing more then ever to provide the means for pastoral support and this coming year will look more closely at a greater level of peer counselling. There is obviously some truth in the assertion that the better we are at identifying and addressing depression, the more there may appear to be of it (in the same way that as levels of reported crime improves so it appears that there is more crime). Having said this, however, I am sure that levels of anxiety are indeed rising and that as we approach the GCSE results this week they may well ‘spike’ for some! (Ed: blog written before results day)

There is an argument that we should not ‘pander’ to those who express anxiety and do more to encourage them to get on with things. This seems to have been the approach of Northern Ireland’s police chief, George Hamilton, who Tweeted recently that officers should ‘dry their eyes’ or ‘move on’! An anonymous Twitter user, apparently a police officer who says he lives with depression, responded that the police were expected to be social workers, paramedics and child minders as well as law enforcers. I think I can hear where the latter is coming from and whilst Mr Hamilton does have a point as ever in life there is a balance to be achieved. At Ballard we shall continue to be alert, understanding and as helpful as we can be to enable young people to be resilient and more able to cope with life’s pressures.

Ballarfd School Headmaster Stairs Alastair Reid

Headmaster of Ballard School; Alastair Reid

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 3, 2016 12:05 pm

    Enjoyed reading this- interested in finding out more about the peer / mentor work

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