Understanding children’s health behaviour and wellbeing

The University of Hertfordshire runs the WHO's Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study for England. The latest HBSC England report revealed unexpectedly high rates of self-harm and cyberbullying among young people, and found girls reported significantly poorer mental health outcomes than boys. The research team has further analysed the data to explore key factors in protecting the mental wellbeing of 11-15 year olds.

Reports on self-harm and cyberbullying for Public Health England

Public Health England commissioned University of Hertfordshire researchers to carry out a thematic analysis of the HBSC study data to explore the rising trend in poorer emotional wellbeing among young people. The three reports focused on:

Self-harm and school connectedness

The HBSC England study revealed more than one in five 15-year-olds in England said they had self-harmed. Further analysis of the data, published in the International Journal of Public Health and reported on by The Independent, found that young people who have a low sense of belonging to their school are nearly seven times more likely to self-harm.

Submissions to public inquiries

The Health and Education Select Committees held a joint inquiry into the role of education in protecting children and young people's mental health, publishing this report. The HBSC England team submitted written evidence that highlighted the strength of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) in addressing mental health issues in young people.

Get in touch

Contact Professor Fiona Brooks, HBSC England lead, if you would like to find out more.