Make your voice heard: Young people’s mental health services

A couple of months ago, I blogged about how important it is for there to be support for children and young people struggling with their mental health after Time to Change Wales launched the #WeCanWeWill campaign.

(I absolutely love this video from the campaign (featuring my lovely buddy) where Beth and Emily are talking about their experiences. Watch it here.

The UK Government has now put forward proposals in relation to young people’s mental health including:

  • the introduction of ‘designated mental health leads’ in schools and colleges
  • setting up mental health support teams working with schools to give young people earlier access to services
  • trialling a 4-week waiting time for NHS Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services

It’s definitely good to see the Government making an effort to help those suffering with their mental health from a younger age. And it’s so important that we do. But is it too late for some people? It’s definitely too late for the 1 in 4 who are already experiencing these issues and are in various systems trying to cope and get support.

It’s also good to see that the Government is asking for views/opinions of people when making these calls about what services to provide.

I got an email today asking me for my views on mental health services for children and young people. I thought this was pretty good from an engagement perspective but then I wondered how many children and young people were actually receiving this email?

Are you a young person struggling with your mental health or know someone that is? Help make their future that bit brighter. Respond to the consultation honestly with your ideas. If you’re a young person struggling, MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD and take part in the UK Government consultation, click here.


Why our children need our help

As I was driving to work today, I heard on the radio that Childline has ‘received its highest number of counselling sessions with young people having suicidal thoughts and feelings.

This is really sad for a number of reasons:

  1. Children are children. They’re supposed to enjoy being young and not worry about adult problems
  2. Social media. So many images, so much pressure, so much comparison
  3. The pressure. Society wants children to perform to the highest standard, get the best grades, go to the best universities but isn’t taking into account how unhappy they are
  4. Bullying. Has a profound affect on someone. I was bullied and I still hate remembering it now

Some of the stats from Childline/BBC News are particularly sad:

  1. 22,456 counselling sessions were given to children wanting to take their own lives
  2. 72% of those having counselling sessions were girls
  3. 13,746 of the sessions were due to children having anxieties

The stat about the amount of girls receiving counselling is shocking but not surprising. Girls are more likely to tell someone if they’re feeling down whereas boys tend to just get on with it. Does that mean that there are far more children/boys feeling so awful they can’t tell anyone? And if so, what can we do to help?

Charities like Time to Change are proactively heading into schools to talk to children about mental health. More awareness means more children can be helped. More awareness also means that we’ll see how many more children are suffering than first thought. There was also a discussion by government about teaching children earlier in life about how to cope with stress, anxiety and what to do if they’re being bullied. This might just help a few more children to cope with the stresses of being young in the 2000s.

If you’re a young ‘un or have any who are struggling, get them to give Childline a call. If you’re a bit older, the Samaritans can listen when you’re feeling rubbish.

What would have helped you when you were younger? What support do you wish was available?