Levels of bullying, victimisation and school violence in SA are among the highest in the world, placing a heavy burden on the mental health of children.
In general, children in SA are under far more strain than children in most countries and they often live in fear.
This is according to the latest Child Gauge, which notes that children in SA presented with the lowest scores for feeling safe in comparison to other countries.
More than 10% felt unsafe at home, more than 13% at school and more than 30% in their neighbourhood and community.
These are some of the findings presented in the Child Gauge — edited by Mark Tomlinson, Sharon Kleintjes and Lori Lake of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town.
It was launched on Wednesday and focuses specifically on mental health, which is an ongoing problem for SA youth, but one which has been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Children face fear in many aspects of their lives and this has an effect on mental health.
According to Linda Richter, emeritus professor from the University of the Witwatersrand, “In a country beset by poverty, inequality, social exclusion and violence, our most important responsibility is to our children and adolescents. We need to identify those who face difficulties early on and try to rectify or ameliorate these problems so that children can continue their lifelong journey with strength and resources.”