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Young teenagers are increasingly unhappy and why UK scientists may have the solution

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Monday 22 July.

A number of newspapers are reporting the news that Britain’s young teenagers are becoming increasingly unhappy.

The Telegraph said that after a long period of gradual increase, children’s happiness began to stall in 2008 and was more recently in decline. But this was often misinterpreted as ‘teenage angst’, warned the Children’s Society, which meant teenagers are often misunderstood.

Kids between eight and 15 saw dropping levels of satisfaction with key factors such as levels of choice, autonomy and freedom with 14 and 15-year-olds most unhappy, with 15% having ‘low wellbeing’ compared to 4% of eight-year-olds.

Emma-Jane Cross, founder of MindFull, the mental health charity for children and young people, said: ‘This damaging attitude can no longer continue when so many are desperately unhappy and struggling with serious issues including self-harm and suicidal thoughts.’

But the youth of today may be cheered up by news that scientists have discovered the brain’s ‘misery molecule’ which affects stress, anxiety and depression, as the Daily Mail reports.

UK researchers found the protein - called CRF1 - in the pituitary gland triggers cells to release hormones linked with stress and anxiety. Researchers think this is linked to depression and now hope to create a drug which can target and block this function.

Meanwhile, will blue-mood Australian kids now be less likely to turn to cigarettes as their form of escape? The first research into the country’s plain cigarette packaging legislation found that smokers have been left less satisfied with the smoking experience since the measure was introduced, The Guardian reports.

The research found that almost a third of smokers perceived their cigarettes to be of lower quality than a year earlier, while over a quarter were less satisfied with their cigarettes.

Plain packaging became compulsory in Australia in December last year with the first research potentially proving important to Britons after the British Department of Health recently postponing a British rollout pending outcomes from the Australian test run.

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