First detailed insight into young people’s wellbeing before and during the Covid pandemic

Data analysts at Public Health Wales have provided the first detailed insight into how young people in Wales were feeling and behaving in the years before and during the pandemic.  They have taken the results of a large school based survey and reported the data on a local basis, helping us to understand regional differences in health and wellbeing of young people in Wales for the first time.

The data is presented in an online dashboard that is publicly available. It presents data from a survey by the School Health Research Network (SHRN) at Cardiff University.

SHRN’s Student Health and Wellbeing (SHW) survey is the largest of its kind in the UK, with more than 123,000 students in years 7 to 11 from 202 schools in Wales taking part in 2021/22. The wide-ranging survey, which is undertaken biennially, asks students about aspects of their physical and mental health and social relationships, with anonymised data shared with schools to inform localised practice.

Mental wellbeing has significantly decreased since 2017, particularly among girls.  The percentage of girls reporting low mental wellbeing has increased by 9.5 percentage points between 2017 and 2021.  More girls than boys also consistently reported that they feel a lot of pressure from schoolwork in every local authority area in Wales, and this difference has been increasing each year.  In the most recent data the highest mental wellbeing scores were reported in the Vale of Glamorgan, Swansea and Cardiff and the lowest were reported in Conwy, Torfaen and Merthyr Tydfil.

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