Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World
The majority of us will experience mental health issues in our lives, either in problems we face ourselves or with someone close to us, some of which could have devastating effects. Our mental health includes our well-being, how we think, feel and act. In other words, it encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year and 2018 looks in particular at Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World. Worldwide, 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental disorders. Half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters by mid-20s, but most cases go undetected and untreated. Fortunately, there is a growing recognition of the importance of helping young people.
Over the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Many of us has had a rough day or experienced feeling numb, sleeping and eating erratically, feeling hopeless, mood swings or even thinking of harming. Giving up of things that we enjoy doing, fighting with family, having low energy. Did you know that this affects all people from all walks of life, children through to adults?
The main areas of concern affecting young people’s mental health include depression, eating disorders, alcohol and drugs and suicide.
Being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness can help prevent problems from escalating. The focus for this year’s World Mental Health Day looks at investing in programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults to look after their mental health and for families, friends and teachers to help build life skills of children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school.
School is the top source of stress for teens. Facing GCSEs, getting into a top university, deciding what to do in life, starting jobs are all sources of tension for body and mind in young people. It’s normal to have some stress in life. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety from time to time. Anxiety can be described as a sense of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, fear, or dread of what’s about to happen or what might happen. But if stress and anxiety persists at high levels for a long time, it can have lasting negative effects on health.
A few ideas to achieve positive mental health includes:
• Helping others and forming connections others
• Thinking positively
• Limiting screen time
• Getting enough sleep
• Setting achievable targets
• Developing mental resilience skills such as meditation and mindfulness
• Eating balanced, healthy, nutritious meals
• Plan your time, learn organisation skills
• Talk to ‘offload’ your problems
• Think of what you’re good at and do more – let yourself shine
• Seeking professional help
Prevention begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health problems or need urgent support, there are lots of places you can go to for help. Below are some resources that may be of interest and help.
Go to our health section to find out more about how healthcare works in the UK.
World Health Organisation
WHO’s focus is on building mental resilience among young people, to help them cope with the challenges of today’s world.
Telephone: 0800 1111
ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor for free about anything – no problem is too big or too small.
CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services)
CAMHS professionals deal with a wide range of emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems. This includes eating disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress and early developmental trauma, psychosis and those at risk of suicide (Children’s Commissioner, 2016). The service also supports children and young people with physical health problems that impact on their well-being and those with learning disabilities. Referral routes through GPs, teachers, social workers. Run by the NHS.
Telephone: 0808 808 4994 (11am-11pm, free to call)
Text: ‘THEMIX’ to 85258
Judgement-free information and support to young people aged 13-25 on a range of issues including mental health problems.
Parents Helpline – call 0808 802 5544
Young people text: YM to 85258
YoungMinds is an independent national charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health.
Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)
Provides confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide.
Their vision is for a world with good mental health for all and aims to help people understand, protect and sustain their mental health. Prevention is at the heart of what they do.
Website: http://elefriends.org.uk/ (run by Mind)
Mind provides confidential mental health information services and enables people to make informed choices. The Infoline gives information on types of mental health problems, where to get help, drug treatments, alternative therapies and advocacy.
Offers support with relationship breakups and family relationships for 16 years +.
Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line
Advice and information for people looking for mental health support and health professionals, employers and staff.