The growing crisis
Evidence shows that young people's mental health issues are increasing in the UK and referrals to specialist services have nearly doubled between 2010 and 2015. Organisations who support young people are under increasing pressure to support young people and their families to cope with increasing numbers of mental ill-health and emotional distress.
What causes mental ill-health in young people?
There are no determining factors for young people developing mental ill-health because it develops through a complex interplay of internal factors such as genetics, thoughts and hormones and external factors such as our environments, nutrition and relationships. The more risk factors a young person has, the more vulnerable they are to developing mental health issues.
Why is this happening?
Young people are having to navigate an increasingly complex world at a time where their coping strategies and communication skills are still in development. Early warning signs of deteriorating mental health can be confusing and distressing for anyone and even more so for young people who may be experiencing them for the first time. Without an understanding of what these signs are and how to communicate them, they are often expressed through behaviour or physical symptoms which can be misinterpreted or go unnoticed for long periods.
What’s the impact?
Delays in intervention can lead to escalating ill-mental health resulting in crisis if untreated. In an evidence review in 2016, The Centre for Mental Health estimates that on average, it takes a child 10 years between first becoming unwell and getting any help. Understanding what can cause mental ill-health can support people to be vigilant in observing risk factors and signs.
What can be done?
The more protective factors that can be put in place, the more likely recovery and mental fitness become. Early intervention is vital in preventing worsening symptoms over time. Mental Health First Aid Training is the world’s leading evidence-based programme designed to equipped people with the necessary skills to respond effectively to young people experiencing mental ill-health and emotional distress.