How can we help young people’s emotional wellbeing? In our continuing focus on self-care and preventative health, we highlight some initiatives that are looking at the challenge from new angles
The rising levels of mental illness in the UK – and how to address the epidemic – are causing concern at the highest levels of government.
On World Mental Health Day (October 10) Prime Minister Theresa May appointed the country’s first minister for suicide prevention.
She also pledged more support in schools. One in ten young people in the UK suffers from a mental health problem. And recent research found that six times more children and young people in England have mental health conditions than a generation ago.
We have looked at what help is available to young people. Here are five schemes that are making a difference.
1. Taking Time Out in Yorkshire
At the Time Out Project, run by mental health charity Healthy Minds in Calderdale, early intervention and building resilience is at the core, reports the Yorkshire Post. It helps young people access a range of activities and offers workshops around issues including self-harm and body image and delivers sessions in schools to raise students’ awareness of mental health.
2. Curbing phone addiction
Almost all parents are concerned about how smartphones are affecting their children’s wellbeing. Three Bristol mums decided to do something about it. They launched Parents Against Phone Addiction in Young Adolescents (Papaya) to raise awareness of the impact of phones and social media on young people. “We want to encourage our children’s generation to see the world through their own eyes, and not through the lens of their smart phone, and for their self-esteem to be based on their intrinsic value, not Instagram followers,” they say.
3. Girls Get Oot in Scotland
Research underlines the strong mental health benefits of accessing the great outdoors. And this idea helped inspire a social media campaign by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Young Scot. #GirlsGetOot has worked with teenage girls to create a series of animations that highlight how simple outdoor activities, such as going for a walk with friends, can help to relieve the stress.
4. Using peer power
An app called MeeTwo is helping young people navigate through those challenging teenage years. “It allows users to post questions anonymously and get answers from their peers and from undergraduate psychology students – expert advice, but from people not long out of school themselves,” reports the BBC. One of the big topics? Anxiety.
5. Encouraging young readers
Children and young people who read and write in their free time have significantly better mental wellbeing than their peers, according to the National Literacy Trust’s Mental wellbeing, reading and writing report. And the Words For Life scheme based in Middlesbrough has created a series of top tips and activity ideas to help parents use reading and writing to support their child’s mental wellbeing.
If you are interested in our work with Clinical Commissioning Groups and public health teams in the areas of preventative health care including social prescribing, contact Qa Research Richard Bryan, Managing Director: