National Studies suggest that in the UK, about 1 in 10 of all young people may experience a mental health problem or disorder. These studies also emphasise that it is important to get help early, conditions are treatable and getting the help early can prevent problems getting more serious. There are different types of mental health issues that affect children and young people.
Depression can be started by a number of things, such as: parents divorcing or separating; feeling ignored and unloved or not being listened to; losing friends; changing school or moving home; worries about their looks, sexuality, health, exams or abuse.
Eating disorders generally develop over time, sometimes over years, and often at a point when life brings fear and insecurity. Anorexia nervosa is an illness in which people keep their body weight low by dieting, vomiting, or excessively exercising. The illness is caused by an anxiety about body shape and weight that originates from a fear of being fat or from wanting to be thin. Bulimia nervosa is an illness in which people feel that they have lost control over their eating. As in anorexia nervosa, they evaluate themselves according to their body shape and weight. Indeed in some instances (although not all), bulimia nervosa develops out of anorexia nervosa.
Self-harm is when someone sets out to hurt themselves deliberately. It is often done in private as a way of coping with very difficult emotions. Recent research estimates that 10 per cent of 15-16 year olds have self-harmed, usually by cutting themselves, and that girls are more likely to self-harm than boys. Self-harm can be a way for a young person to show they are feeling a lot of pain and hurt. There are many reasons why young people might harm themselves - although the need to self-harm usually comes from emotions they find difficult to manage. The emotions could relate to any number of things, such as bullying or abuse, or indicate other concerns.
There are of course many types of mental health issues, you can find out more about these and where to get support at Young Minds.
If you need someone to talk to information below about Big White Wall and Kooth may be useful.
Big White Wall is a free, anonymous, online resource for young people aged 16-18 (as well as 16-25 year-olds with Special Educational Needs) living in Southend Essex or Thurrock. Commissioned by NELFT, it provides young people who are feeling down, anxious, angry or stressed and who may benefit from a little extra support, a safe community to talk about their feelings and share their experiences with others who feel the same. There is a library of resources to help young people understand how they are feeling and trained counsellors, called Wall Guides, online 24/7 to keep the service safe – visit the Big White Wall website for more information.
Kooth, the new online counselling service for young people in Essex is a free, confidential, safe and anonymous way for young people aged 11-26th birthday to ask for help from a team of highly qualified and experienced counsellors and support workers.
KOOTH service includes:
• drop in chats with counsellors;
• booked 1:1 chats with a counsellor;
• themed message forums;
• secure web-based email;
• articles regarding mental health.
Targeted and specialist support is available for young people whose needs suggest they require a more in-depth, time-specific period of intervention. Please read the EWMHS booklet which contains more information, including the types of issues the service can help with and the support available. The booklet also contains information about how to refer to these specialist services and contact information for young people, parents, guardians, care givers, responsible adults and other professionals.
As well as Kooth and Big White Wall there are other sources of support and information including:
VIDEO #SpotTheSigns from Papyrus-Uk - How do we know if someone is thinking about suicide? We cannot be certain without asking directly. There are often ‘signs’ we can look out for which indicate someone could be considering ending their life and it’s time to ask.
VIDEO #BedtimeStories from Papyrus- Uk - Online bullying is a contributing factor for many young people having thoughts of suicide. Over 200 schoolchildren die by suicide every year in the UK.
If you want to find out more about a certain mental or emotional health issue that you are worried about, visit The Children's Society Resource Vault. Resources are filtered by age so you can select what's relevant for you.