YP Letters: Crisis in self-esteem for younger generation

More needs to be done, says Barnardo's, to help young people.
More needs to be done, says Barnardo's, to help young people.
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From: Javed Khan, CEO, Barnardo’s.

WE face an urgent imperative to help the UK’s young people. More than ever, we have a generation of youngsters in crisis.

Barnardo’s research reveals an astonishing 88 per cent of under 18s lack confidence. This figure is supported by the Young Women’s Trust, which revealed a generation of young women ‘wracked by anxiety, lack of confidence and despair’.

This epidemic of low confidence and limited self-belief holds young people back from future success, but there is a more disturbing issue that we are also addressing: the abuse, particular, sexual abuse of children and young people by their peers. We have witnessed a 30 per cent increase for our Child Sexual Exploitation Services in the past year alone and dealt with more than 9,000 referrals in the past two.

This increasing demand for our services is the backdrop for our Ten Year Strategy. We already work with 248,000 young people and their families, but we must increase this to meet the needs of millions more.

We all have a duty to show young people that we believe in them and will support them – 65 per cent of adults we spoke to said they just ‘aren’t very good’ at telling youngsters they believe in them. This has to change.