Stormzy speaks about his battles with depression

Popular Grime MC, Stormzy spoke to Channel 4 News about his battle with depression. He implored young people to address the issue head-on and to seek help when they are feeling very lonely and isolated.

Stormzy addresses this depression on his next LP/CD/Download/Mixtape Gang Signs and Prayers, and speaks about the fact that even though he openly promotes positivity and confidence, he still has dark moments in private regardless of his personal successes.

For the full 25 minute interview visit: HERE

LYP says: We are grateful that celebrities like Stormzy are willing to talk about difficult issues like depression. We hope his message can help someone in real need.

Take a look, listen and pass it on.


Protecting the young from online porn

Young people and children may not be looking for them. But porn is definitely looking out for them.

Today we live in a world where over half of teens own a smartphone or an iPod, which, without restrictions, and if the owner was inclined, could be used as a portable x-rated cinema, almost as easily as it could be used as a phone.

In 2008 YouGov conducted a survey of nearly 1500 American youths. Here is a handful of statistics for you to digest:

  1. 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls have been exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
  2. Average first exposure to pornography among boys is 12 years old.
  3. 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online.
  4. 69% of boys and 55% of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online.
  5. 32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen bestiality (sex between a person and an animal) online.
  6. 15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography.
  7. 71% of teens hide online behaviour from their parents.
  8. 28% of 16-17 year olds have been unintentionally exposed to porn online.
  9. 20% of 16-year-olds and 30% of 17-year-olds have received a sext.

LYP says: We know that these are statistics from America, however we also know that we, in the UK, tend to follow the examples of American teen culture.  This is why LYP is active in schools trying to educate them to prevent young people from being casualties of this addictive drug. If young people are constantly exposed to this level of sexuality online then it will change their behaviour in relationships and consequently if left over a long period of time, it can severely effect the culture of society. That is why we are very much relieved to hear that the Government is going to make sex and relationships education (SRE) mandatory in all schools across England and Wales. 


Even the bubbly TV favourite Fearne Cotton has battled depression

Famous TV host and presenter has gone public and shared her experiences with depression. The effervescent TV and radio host always has a smile on her face, so it will be a surprise to many that Fearne Cotton used to take anti-depressants and has had her fair share of battle with depression and self-confidence issues.

Cotton has a new book on the market called Happy. She thought it was time to use her high profile to share with others how she overcame the affliction and how, sometimes, it’s possible to defeat it.

It was a few years ago that star Fearne was struck down with debilitating symptoms that made her realise something was wrong.  “I had a real lack of energy,” she recalls. “I felt so drained and my lust for everything that I love wasn’t there any more.”

She says: “Since writing this book, lots of people opened up to me about being prescribed anti-depressants. After a few months, I felt that I was able to start, very slowly coming off them and looking for other options.”

Fearne was then able to review the way she was living her life and make some changes for the better, like cutting back on her social life

“Letting go of ‘perfect’ was important,” she says. “I was trying to do so many things and putting so much pressure on myself – and why? Perfect doesn’t exist. I cut back a lot on work, and focused a lot more on family.”

The book is available through major stockists and we recommend it highly as a ‘gateway’ book to begin to understand the effects of depression and it’s de-habilitating effects.

LYP says: It’s good to ease that someone as famous as Fearne Cotton can be so open and real in coping with her depression. Just because she’s famous it doesn’t mean she has to hide her feelings. We believe young people value other people who are willing to be vulnerable about their feelings, especially celebrities who are seen as perfect. Celebrities can bring more positive attention to issues like mental health and hopefully create more conversation to addressing these issues.

UK – Mental Health Statistics (Adults and Children)

Mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, especially amongst our youngest is a growing problem because of the decreasing funding pot across the board in the UK. Whether it’s our youth battling with their self-esteem or being the victims of sexual abuse, the access to professional getting ever more difficult. These statistics (credits at the end) demonstrate that the problems are not going away and remain a significant worry to aid professionals and those seeking much needed assistance.

  • 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class (1).
  • Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm (2).
  • There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68% (3).
  • More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time (4).
  • Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression (5).
  • Over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old suffer from severe depression (6).
  • 72% of children in care have behavioural or emotional problems – these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society (7).
  • 95% of imprisoned young offenders have a mental health disorder. Many of them are struggling with more than one disorder (8).
  • The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s (9).
  • The proportion of young people aged 15-16 with a conduct disorder more than doubled between 1974 and 1999 (10)

There is Key Data on Adolescence 2013 from the Association for Young People’s Health available here which has a section, Chapter 6, dedicated to Mental Health.

More detailed statistics

A more detailed analysis of the figures on depression, conduct disorders and anxiety in children are listed below.

Mental Disorders

The figures below are based on the finding of the latest ONS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey which was published in 2004 (11).

Any figures on the number of children with these disorders are estimates based on the prevalence rates found in this study and demographic data from the 2001 census.

  • 9.6% or nearly 850,000 children and young people aged between 5-16 years have a mental disorder
  • 7.7% or nearly 340,000 children aged 5-10 years have a mental disorder
  • 11.5% or about 510,000 young people aged between 11-16 years have a mental disorder


  • 3.3% or about 290,000 children and young people have an anxiety disorder
  • 2.2% or about 96,000 children have an anxiety disorder
  • 4.4% or about 195,000 young people have an anxiety disorder


  • 0.9% or nearly 80,000 children and young people are seriously depressed
  • 0.2% or about 8,700 aged 5-10 year-olds are seriously depressed.
  • 1.4% or about 62,000 aged 11-16 year-olds are seriously depressed.

Conduct Disorders

  • 5.8% or just over 510,000 children and young people have a conduct disorder
  • 4.9% or nearly 215,000 children have a conduct disorder
  • 6.6% or just over 290,000 young people have a conduct disorder

Hyperkinetic Disorder (Severe ADHD)

  • 1.5% or just over 132,000 children and young people have severe ADHD
  • 1.6% or about 70,000 children have severe ADHD
  • 1.4% or about 62,000 young people have severe ADHD

LYP says: Mental health issues with young people are on the increase and the statistics are proving it. Unfortunately the resources that were there to provide a buffer or an intervention at an earlier stage are not around anymore due to severe government financial cut backs. God only knows what will happen over the next decade with young people’s mental health. This is where organisations like LYP can help provide highly effective ways of frontline work with students at risk of mental health issues before its too late.  Get in touch today.


1 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.

2 Mental Health Foundation (2006). Truth hurts: report of the National Inquiry into self-harm among young people. London: Mental Health Foundation

3 YoungMinds (2011) 100,000 children and young people could be hospitalised due to self-harm by 2020 warns YoungMinds. London: YoungMinds.

4 Kim-Cohen, J., Caspi, A., Moffitt, TE., et al (2003): Prior juvenile diagnoses in adults with mental disorder. Archives of general psychiatry, Vol 60, pp.709-717.

5 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.

6 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.

7 Sempik, J. et al. (2008) Emotional and behavioural difficulties of children and young people at entry into care. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 13 (2), pp. 221-233.

8 Office for National Statistics (1997): Psychiatric morbidity among young offenders in England and Wales. London: Office for National Statistics.

9 Nuffield Foundation (2013) Social trends and mental health: introducing the main findings. London: Nuffield Foundation.

10 Collishaw, S. et al. (2004) Time trends in adolescent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45:8, pp 1350–1362.

11 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.



Don’t get too caught up with your online persona.

Increasingly our young adults are making their online image as important as their actual image. So this is why online pressures are so much more consuming in your youth. As we get older we get busier. Facebook profiles become more about documenting travel and achievements, keeping in touch with old friends and reminiscing than the artificial excitement we experienced online when we were younger. Many young adults spend time immersed in fashion blogs looking to eradicate so-called imperfections, told to loose weight, told that with physical perfection and beauty happiness and riches will follow. Pinterest gets misused and the quotes used to fuel a self-hatred and depression, when the pictures are mainly there to inspire and generate happiness. Some escapes from reality become a dark flight rather than a positive voyage.

Forum conversations with strangers about the best angle to give the illusion of having a six pack or how to hide your flaws on SnapChat are of major importance. On one hand, our young people may feel alienated by day-to-day life and have found a place where people understand them. The mistake is to become over reliant on the internet and let it take over from reality and let it affect your outlook and ultimately your future. Too many people are letting the Internet and the media tell them how to act, look and behave. This flawed oracle is a false prophet and a quick fix. Children are expected to express themselves and to be themselves. The pressure is on for them to build self-esteem and also to find a way to be an individual but also not to alienate themselves from others in real life and online. It’s a thin line.

LYP says:

The impact of the Internet continues to transform the way young people identify themselves in new and extremely narcissistic ways. This is leading to a warped understanding of themselves and how they interact, relate and communicate with each other. It is not so unusual for young people to create separate personalities or personas for themselves, however this is being heightened by access of online technology which can change their image at a touch of a button. This does lead to pressure to perform and look perfect which leads to an unhealthy desire to be accepted and loved by their peers. Equally it also opens them  up to be measured and judged unrealistically which may lead to rejection and hurt doled out by their ‘social’ circle.  LYP works with schools to provide an early intervention strategy to help young people with their self-esteem issues before they they make consequential decisions based out of their emotions.


Does porn diminish the love we feel for our partners?

Does looking at pornography make men lose interest in their partners, even making them less in love?

In the 1980s, Professor Kenrick published studies on how heterosexual men and women responded to naked pictures of attractive members of the opposite sex. Participants were then asked a series of questions, including how they felt about their partners.  Women were unaffected, but men expressed less attraction to their wives or girlfriends after seeing all the sexy alternatives, and were even less likely to describe themselves as being in love with them. Ever since, this has been frequently cited as evidence for the destructive effects of porn on the male brain.

For 27 years no one tried to replicate Kenrick’s work, which is particularly strange since his most influential work involved a small sample.

R Balzarini, a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, conducted a series of trials with 10 times the size of sample that Kenrick interviewed, and found that looking at centrefolds made no difference to male participants’ assessments of their attraction to their partners, or how much love they felt for them. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that either Kenrick or Balzarini are simply wrong, with some flaw in their experimental technique or processing of data. However, there are plenty of alternative explanations as well. In particular, it is possible that more widespread exposure to pornography has caused what was once a real effect to wear off.

“Maybe the damage has been done.”

LYP says:

We think that studies like this should be carried out to ascertain the depth of how or why pornography has an affect on people’s brains. We believe from the young people we talk to on a daily basis that pornography is having a huge effect on young people’s development in their understanding of sexuality and relationships. Pornography is powerful drug just like any other drug only society doesn’t view it as a danger. We believe it is dangerous to allow young people to access it whenever they want, especially when they are too young to make informed decisions for themselves.

Instilling confidence – presence not praise

Admiration of a steady and hardworking arc of achievement rather than ‘flash in the pan’ raw talent is the touchstone of a well-adjusted mind. And here’s why.

Is it possible that praise can lead to a loss of confidence, a recent book thinks yes.

Stephen Grosz

Stephen Grosz

In The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves published by public library, psychoanalyst and University College London professor Stephen Grosz explores the workings of our inner life, with insights that are invariably profound and often provocative. Grosz writes: “Nowadays, we lavish praise on our children. Praise, self-confidence and academic performance, it is commonly believed, rise and fall together. But current research suggests otherwise — over the past decade, a number of studies on self-esteem have come to the conclusion that praising a child as ‘clever’ may not help her at school. In fact, it might cause her to under-perform. Often a child will react to praise by quitting — why make a new drawing if you have already made ‘the best’? Or a child may simply repeat the same work — why draw something new, or in a new way, if the old way always gets applause?” If you’re already number one, why try harder?

It’s a controversial way of thinking but there is a dollop of truth in our current world of instant gratification and a general lack of gumption. Fame is perceived as easy to achieve but the climb is hard and under publicised. The hard work isn’t shown in the reality TV shows, talent isn’t naturally developed, skill comes with time and practice so why would do we need to applaud our young every step of the way these days. Do you think we need a shake up?

Grosz also adds, “Being present, whether with children, with friends, or even with oneself, is always hard work. But isn’t this attentiveness — the feeling that someone is trying to think about us — something we want more than praise?”

What do you think?

LYP team says: It’s an interesting theory and worth thinking about further especially when working with young people at any age. As educationalists we would say don’t underestimate the power of spending time with someone on a regular basis. We have seen this working effectively when teaching self-esteem,over an 8-week period, that their individual self-esteem goes up dramatically but not solely because of our presence. We are aware that there are other factors involved that help determine a successful outcome, like encouragement, praise, fun, laughter respect as well as listening to them.