Did you know that mental health problems affects about 1 in 10 children and young people, and 70% of children and young people experience a mental health problem have not been able to get help at a sufficient age? I first became aware of this issue when my family had a conversation about a friend who is affected by mental health issues. I then decided to look into what help was on offer for young people of my age or similar who suffer from mental health issues. What I discovered I was actually very shocked by.
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them, and for them to grow into healthy adults.
One source of help for children is school nurses but what they are trained to do with children with mental health issues is very limited, however they provide someone safe to talk to that isn’t a parent or carer, this giving them a sense of belonging and hope.
Many sufferers are getting to the point of desperation where they start to self-harm or attempt to commit suicide, and only at this point is help then offered in many cases, but there should be more help for children and young people before they get to this stage.
Another thing is that there are many days where people with mental health issues can talk to other affected people and get help and advice, an example of these days would be the “Time to talk” day which was on 4th February 2016. As part of my investigation into this issue I went around my school and asked a number of staff and students around our school if they knew anything about ‘Time to talk’ day, and no one had ever even heard of it. It should definitely be more publicised. For anyone who doesn’t know what “Time to talk” is then it is a website where young people can share advice to affected people who can’t receive advice.
Although places and initiatives like “Time to talk” do exist, there is not any real help for people with mental health issues. This is a big problem and needs to be solved.
A local organisation called the tigers trust from hull came into our school to talk about their mental illness support groups they do where they play games of football and fitness groups and help people by letting them realise that their not alone, when I asked them a few questions about what they daid and who they were this is their answer…
In 2011 when Hull were first in the Premier League we were given funding, as we are all 20 Premier League clubs, to deliver what was called the ‘Imagine Goals’ programme. So the idea was to work with the local NHS and organisations like that to deliver mental health support through things like football. We’ve been doing those sessions like I say since 2011 and its Tuesday daytimes and Thursday evenings. The daytime setup mainly focuses on the people that are on the dole and are looking to get back into work, and the reason for the night time one is for those that are in work but are maybe suffering from depression or anxiety – both ideas are very informal and we focus much more on the social aspect. The whole idea is to make people realise that they’re not alone. There’s no set structure to the session and generally we’ll get 20-30 people coming down to each one. We keep it informal as obviously their attendance will depend upon how they are feeling on the day and whether something has happened before they come. The physical aspect of the scheme is a big thing because obviously there’s the correlation between physical health and mental health, and that’s why we as a trust are running it. Like I say it’s very informal, we don’t actually diagnose people. But afterwards we might have a cup of tea and if there are any disclosures then we can try and point them in the right direction. Our youngest participant is 19, our oldest is 58 so there’s obviously a massive age range involved in this project – males and females as well. The main thing is that people can share their experience and see that there are other people going through the same thing.
During the last couple of years (awareness) has got a little bit better, but obviously it is still considered as a weakness. One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their life, and I would say without being able to check that the majority of those people will be males. There’s a tendency in society that men have to be strong, and that they won’t share their emotions or their feelings – it has been a real taboo subject until recently. One of the big problems is that it’s not visible unlike a physical illness or a physical disability. On the outside someone may seem perfectly fine but more often than not in some cases that isn’t true with some people. But at least now that awareness is slowly increasing there are people just texting a friend and saying ‘are you okay?’ The problem at the moment is the cut to funding for things like ‘Time to Talk’ and reductions to mental health staff and support which will give it a bit of a negative spin in the media as well.
In the future I would like to see the government launching free help and counselling for young people and adults issues, this would bring the young people up in the world as they would be able to concentrate more on learning, and get a good job.
Howden School Derwent Road Howden DN14 7AL
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