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.
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:
- Redbridge Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS) – Tel: 0300 555 1182 or 0300 300 1624. In an emergency outside of office hours, call Mental Health Direct – 24 hour crisis line – on 0300 555 1000.
- Samaritans – 24 hour helpline for anyone who is distressed or experiencing emotional problems – call 08457 909090 or e-mail jo@Samaritans.org.
- Childline – a free, private and confidential service – call on 0800 1111. Also available is a 1-2-1 counsellor chat.
- Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line – call 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 14:00)
- Saneline – call 0300 304 7000 (18:00 to 23:00)
- Mind Infoline – call 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 18:00)
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.
In Redbridge, the YouCan Young People’s Participation Group have developed a hand out for young people on self-help strategies: