Behind the mask: Welsh parents’ views on their children’s mental health 

With record numbers of young people struggling with their mental health, our new report; ‘Disturbing currents: wellbeing and mental health of children in Wales’ shines a light on the numbers of young children that might be trying to hide their mental health struggles from their schools and teachers.  

When we asked independent researchers to speak to more than 750 Welsh parents with children in primary and secondary schools, two thirds of them (68%) said they had concerns about the state of their children’s mental health.  These same parents also told us that over half of their school-age children (54%) go to great lengths to hide their feelings of unhappiness from others, and that a quarter (26%) of their children struggle with anxiety every two to three days. Based on the data we estimate that more than 55,000 children, some as young as 5, are hiding signs of distress from their schools.

What are students worrying about?

Our study showed that parents say that the main causes of anxiety among their children are peer pressure (34%), social media (30%), hormonal and physical changes (28%), not sleeping well (22%), keeping up with schoolwork (21%), meeting high expectations they set themselves (20%), and meeting expectations set by their school (19%).  

Parents also told us that the biggest concern for their boys is fitting in (32%).  While for girls, the biggest worry is peer pressure (36%), closely followed by hormonal changes (34%) and social media (31%).

Our research did also show that most parents think schools are adequately equipped to handle students’ mental health needs, but what parents would overwhelmingly like to see schools do is to be able to regularly monitor student wellbeing and then produce a termly report card, much as they already do for effort and academic achievement.

How Compass can help

Chronicle, a module within Compass’ MIS, helps teachers and schools monitor student behaviour and wellbeing in real time. The module is based on templates that can be created and customised according to a school’s own needs. You decide what you want recorded – from misconduct, interventions, attendance, detentions, exemplary work, to medical notes – everything you think you and your colleagues need to monitor student wellbeing.

Chronicle can also send out automatic communications – templated letters, emails, texts or push notifications – to parents and colleagues. Chronicle Trigger allows teachers to set thresholds – merits earned, detentions served, attendance, etc – that will ‘trigger’ an automatic communication. Teachers can receive wellbeing alerts on students or groups of students, while the parent app included in the Compass package allows teachers to communicate directly with parents and parents to communicate with the school.

If you would like a demonstration of Compass MIS or would like to know more about Chronicle, please contact Claire Wensley at or visit

Sign up to our webinar

On Wednesday 24th April at 4pm, Dr Tara Porter, a clinical psychologist and Sunday Times best-selling author, will be sharing her guidance in our upcoming webinar:

“Are schools unwittingly contributing to their students’ mental health issues? Insights and actions.”

Tara has wide experience in mental health in schools and a thorough understanding of the school context and the pressure that schools are under. She regularly shares her insights on all aspects of young people’s mental health, including anxiety, depression and social media in publications including Tes and The Guardian.

During our webinar, Tara will be exploring three key discussion points that shed light on the intricate relationship between schools and student mental health:

  1. The “Anxiety Storm”: Tara will share data into why children’s mental health concerns, particularly anxiety, are on the rise. 
  2. Happiness vs. Unhappiness: Through data-driven insights, Tara will explore the role schools can play in shaping the emotional wellbeing of children for increased happiness.
  3. Actionable Strategies for Teachers: Tara will share practical strategies that teachers can incorporate into everyday school life to help all students, whether they’re struggling or excelling, to feel more valued and to improve their wellbeing.

To save your spot on this webinar, register now.

Interested in seeing more?

See how Compass helps your school at every level, watch our 5-minute demo on demand.

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