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Stressed children 'unable to eat or sleep'

FAST ASLEEP: Not all children sleep like these two (PA)

ALMOST HALF of British children are losing sleep due to stress and worry a new survey has found.

The poll revealed around 58 per cent of 10 to 14-year-olds admitted they felt worried or stressed at least once a week.

More than one in six of those questioned admitted to feeling this way once a day and is causing them to miss meals or avoid friends.

Dharmendra Kanani, director for Big Lottery Fund England, which commissioned the poll said: “These survey results give us a window into what’s going on in the minds of young people.

“For many young people, how they feel about themselves; their self-esteem, confidence or negative peer pressure can become deeply troubling, take root and lead to crime, self-harm or even suicide.”

While exams topped the list, 31 per cent were worried about their parents splitting up or losing their jobs, and 30 per cent at the threat of being bullied at school or at an after-school club.

The poll marks the Big Lottery Fund's £75m HeadStart initiative, which is aimed at enabling youngsters aged 10 to 14 to deal with the pressure of modern life.

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies said: “We already know that most lifelong mental health problems start to develop by the time a child reaches the age of 14 so it is vital that they are identified and get the support and treatment they need as early as possible.

“But with the right support and access to help at this key transition stage of our lives, we aim to show that young people can be given a HeadStart to lead happier, more fulfilling lives.”

She added: “The HeadStart programme promises to be a fantastic way of reaching and helping children at risk of developing long-term mental health issues and helping more children to grow up happy and healthy.”

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