Young People and Mental Health


Everyone has ‘mental health’.  Mental health includes how we feel about ourselves and those around us, our ability to socialise and form relationships and our ability to learn from others and develop psychologically and emotionally.  Being mentally healthy also includes the strength to overcome difficulties and challenges in every day life and have the confidence and self-esteem to be able to make decisions and believe in ourselves.  However, mental ill-health is very common.  Around 1 in 10 young people have a mental health diagnosis.  Additionally, there will be lots of others that are suffering anxiety or depression but have not had this officially recognised.

What’s it all about?

It is normal to become worried, anxious, upset or down when things don’t go the way you want them to.  This could be relating to friendships, school work, exams, finding work, or anything in day to day life.  However, sometimes worries, anxieties and difficult feelings can develop to the extent that they are feature of a young person’s every day reality and begin to seriously interfere with things such as having fun, studying, attending school, eating, sleeping or being physically active.  If this goes on for more than a couple of weeks, it could be a sign that there is a mental health problem or disorder and help is needed.

Getting Support

Young people to put off seeking help with mental health problems because they are worried what people may think of them or believe that no one else will understand.  It is important though to let people know how you feel.  Mental health disorders are treatable but it is important to get help at the earliest opportunities before things become more serious.

Support, advice and treatment is available in many forms and a combination of these needs to be put in place for each individual.  Firstly, a visit to the GP will kick start getting help.  Talking to someone you trust such as a friend, sibling, parent/carer, youth worker, or teacher is also important.  If you don’t know who to turn to or want to speak to someone initially that doesn’t know you, the following organisations are here to help:

Find out more

There are lots of on-line resources which provide mental health information for young people.  These include:

  • Rethink Mental Illness – offering information on symptoms, different conditions, diagnosis, treatments and living with mental illness.  There are also tools that can be downloaded which can help you look after your mental health.
  • Invictus Trust – Mental Health Portal – information for young people on depression, anxiety and self harm.
  • Selfharm UK – help and advice on getting talk about self-harm – including eating disorders.
  • Mind – Mental health A – Z – covers a wide range of topics including anger, abuse, loneliness, panic attacks and phobias.
  • Stem4 Calm App – helps manage the urge to self-harm.
  • The Mix – essential support with looking after your on-line mental health for under 25s.