WMHD 2018: Young people and mental health in a changing world

Georgia Lee tells us why this year’s focus for World Mental Health Day is Young People’s Mental Health – and what you can do to help


The Focus

The World Federation for Mental Health is focusing their 2018 campaign for World Mental Health Day on: Young people and mental health. The need for proper mental health education in today’s world has never been so great. Young people, parents, teachers, and whole educational bodies need to be equipped with the appropriate knowledge and understanding that will ensure mental well-being for young people and young people should be provided with the skills necessary to tackle the challenges that they face in their everyday lives.

The trials that young people face from childhood through to adolescence and adulthood have not, in the past, been counteracted by sufficient knowledge, awareness and strategy that is needed in order to maintain a healthy mental life. They have not been given the appropriate tools to handle these challenges and so they are increasingly experiencing mental health problems in their adult life.

World suicide prevention day brought a great deal of attention to how vital mental health education is for our future. Suicide was found to be the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. New research has indicated that 1 in 4 young people now experience mental health problems (including depression and anxiety). These statistics show us that young people’s mental health really has never been so important and action needs to be taken now.


So why are young people at risk?

During adolescence various changes take place in a person’s life. Whether you move away from home, start a new job or go to university, you are required to adjust. Although this can be positive, these changes can also leave us vulnerable to stress and various types of pressures that, if ignored, can build up. If this internal stress goes unacknowledged for too long poor mental health may occur; in fact, new research shows that 1 in 6 young people will experience an anxiety disorder in their lives.

People often enter adolescence having already experienced emotionally damaging personal events such as; trauma, grief, abuse, neglect, or bullying. People who have been through ordeals such as this are already incredibly vulnerable and it makes facing the changes that occur in their teenage years even more difficult.


How are things changing?

 “Prevention begins with better understanding.”

– The World Health Organisation

Organisations such as Worth-it are providing mental resilience training in schools. This aims at ensuring that young people develop techniques from childhood that will help them battle and be more resilient to factors that can be bad for their mental health. In their early life and in their later life.  Worth-it provide training for staff, pupils, and entire schools. They acknowledge the incredibly damaging affects that poor mental health has on a child’s ability to learn, progress and succeed, so they have various courses which offer children the social and emotional support that they need in order to flourish.

Public Health Delivery Manager Claire Robson explains on her blog Public Health Matters that the government has recently published a paper that expands on their vision that was set out for improving young people’s mental health in 2015. Three key changes are currently being implemented in schools. Visit the blog to find out what these are.


What you can do this World Mental Health Day

Mental Health First Aid England provide a toolkit on their website that gives basic information about young people’s mental health. Anyone can use this as a great way to kick-start their understanding.

Start the conversation – If you’re a parent then engaging with your child’s mental health could be key to their mental wellbeing. You could prevent an internal build-up of stress and worry and this could be vital to avoiding problems in the future.

Visit National Mind’s website – you can order information packs and book mental health training courses here.


Looking for help for yourself or a loved one? Visit our Information Service.

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