With recent research from the independent mental health provider the Priory Group revealing the extent of unhappiness and angst among today’s teenagers – more than one in seven say they have felt so miserable that they have considered suicide – it has never been more important to understand what makes children happy and what makes them sad. Young people from Children’s Express, a programme of learning through journalism for young people aged eight to 18, offer their views on happiness.
What I like best is seeing Arsenal win and playing football. I didn’t used to like it but my friends got me into it. When I play, it makes me feel like I am stepping into the shoes of my favourite footballer, Thierry Henry. If I am feeling sad I will play a football game on my Play Station 2. The best day I have ever had was when I finished first for the 800 metres race at my secondary school. It was a school record, although I didn’t know that at the time. My family makes me happy too. They take care of me and ,if I ask them for something, I know they will do it.
Jason is 14
My little sister makes me sad because she always tells tales on me to my mum. I don’t know why she does it because I get into trouble, but I think she thinks it’s funny. If I am having a bad day food cheers me up. I like chilli con carne and sweet chilli crisps. It makes me happy to eat because I want to be big and have lots of energy.
Antonio is 11
I haven’t done anything very exciting in my life but one of my best achievements was when I got a good report from my school this year, because last year I got a bad one. People on TV make me laugh, particularly Eddie Murphy. If I am having a bad day I watch Basil Brush. I am good at making other people happy. I just talk and my friends start laughing – they think I am silly.
Usman is 14
If I’m having a bad day, knowing that someone is there for me can make me happy. It’s good if they know my personality and can make me laugh and cheer me up. I wouldn’t say I’m the best at making other people happy, but I know that just being a good friend to other people is important. The things I like doing are singing, dancing, hanging out with my friends and just being lively and fun.
Ashleigh is 14
The most exciting thing I have ever done in my life was when I went abseiling in Wales. But that was a one off. The things I do all the time are playing football, watching movies and going places with my friends. I know it sounds bad, but what I find funny is when people hurt themselves. If I am having a bad day and I see someone having a worse day than me that makes me feel better.
Kinzey is 12