Every year the conversation around mental health is growing a little bit stronger.
There is such a wealth of fantastic campaigns, charities, awareness days and events happening all around the world for all walks of life to realise how important it is to talk about and looking after our mental health.
statistics are still on a rapid incline heading for an even bigger crisis that we initially thought. What is alarming for me to see (though not surprising) is the rise in mental health cases for young generations that have so much more pressure to contend with than any other generation before them.
This years theme for World Mental Health Day is for ‘Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World’.
Mental health affects 1 in 10 young people (1), yet according to the Mental Health Foundation, 70% of those who experience such difficulties have not received the appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age (2).
The earlier an individual has access to the right intervention and care, the stronger their chances are of managing their mental health condition or making a full recovery.
Recent studies have been identifying the growing epidemic, as the percentage of young people reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression increased to 21% (2013- 2014) compared to 18% found in the previous study (2009-2010), with young women being more likely than young men to report such symptoms (3).
Huge Pressure on Young Shoulders
We are living in a fast-paced, technological world that never sleeps. The expectations of success in life are being implanted from such a very young age due to social ideals, educational statistics, the government, and the media. For developing minds, all of this information can lead to added unnecessary pressures causing anxiety related issues, which can have a damaging effect on young people’s mental health.
As I mention a lot, social media is saturated with opportunities for comparison and distortion of truth and reality. Young people are being born and raised with this as their primary way to stay ‘connected’ with friends and finding out about things, and this in itself can have a lasting impact on how they see themselves, others, and the world they live in.
With half of all mental health problems manifesting by the age of 14, and 75% by age 24 (4), it is crucial that the professional health services and the public start to take young people more seriously when it comes to dealing difficulties with change and life experiences.
Although there is discrimination across the board with regards to NHS funding for mental health services, it was found that young people were only receiving 0.7% of the budget in 2016 (5) which has not changed enough since this report.
MQ (Mental health for Quality of life) have composed a list of seven projects that can really help to combat the struggles that young minds are going through. They have launched their ‘Brighter Futures’ program which aims to bring researchers together to focus on understanding young people’s mental health and finding interventions and approaches to support them.
I know that if there had been the appropriate interventions in places and awareness of mental health from a young age, my story would have been a lot different. So many harmful and damaging experiences were had because of the poor quality of service for young people, that caused my illness to manifest more deeply. Even eight years on and nothing has really changed.
More needs to be done.
Supporting Organisations for Young People
- YoungMinds – https://youngminds.org.uk
- Childline – https://www.childline.org.uk
- CALM: https://www.thecalmzone.net
- Papyrus (prevention for young suicide): https://papyrus-uk.org
- Green H et al (2005) Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
- Kessler RC et al. (2005). ‘Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication’.