COSMO briefing: Mental health and wellbeing

Think tank: The Sutton Trust

Author(s): Erica Holt-White; Alice DeGennaro

November 23, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Sutton Trust looks at the mental health and wellbeing of young people in year 11.

This briefing, analysing data from the first wave of the COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities (COSMO) Study, considers the mental health and wellbeing of young people in year 11, mainly focusing on the symptoms of psychological distress as measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12).8 It also looks at bullying and self-harm, as well as how psychological distress during the pandemic has affected motivations and plans for the future. These issues are also looked at by a variety of background characteristics, including gender, ethnicity, socio- economic background and school type. In this particular COSMO research briefing, we also highlight the experiences of young people who report a gender identity other than male or female (‘non-binary+’ – just over 2% of participants),9 given previous evidence of increased psychological distress for this group. The scale of the COSMO study provides sufficient sample size to look at this key marginalised group whose experiences are often not possible to report in studies of a smaller scale.