What mental health problems commonly occur in young people? According to Mentalhealth.org.uk, these are some of the mental health problems that can affect young adults and teens.
- Depression affects more children and young people today than in the last few decades, but it is still more common in adults. Teenagers are more likely to experience depression than young children.
- Self-harm is a very common problem among young people. Some people find it helps them manage intense emotional pain if they harm themselves, through cutting or burning, for example. They may not wish to take their own life.
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) can cause young people to become extremely worried. Very young children or children starting or moving school may have separation anxiety.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can follow physical or sexual abuse, witnessing something extremely frightening of traumatising, being the victim of violence or severe bullying or surviving a disaster.
- ADHD Diagnosis: Children who are consistently overactive ('hyperactive'), behave impulsively and have difficulty paying attention may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many more boys than girls are affected, but the cause of ADHD aren't fully understood.
- Eating disorders usually start in the teenage years and are more common in girls than boys. The number of young people who develop an eating disorder is small, but eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can have serious consequences for their physical health and development.
Alarmingly, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.
Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
- being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
- having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
- being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
- going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
- taking part in local activities for young people.
Other factors are also important, including:
- feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
- being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
- being hopeful and optimistic
- being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
- accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
- having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
- feeling they have some control over their own life
- having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.
Shelf Help is a new initiative to help young people aged 13-18 years manage their mental health, wellbeing and emotional resilience using recommended reading.
Shelf Help provides a booklist of 35 titles covering 12 topics and conditions including anxiety, depression, self-harm, body image and eating disorders, as well as life experiences such as bullying. The booklist features non-fiction, information and self-help material as well as memoirs, graphic novels and fiction.
The books on the booklist have been selected by Health Professionals and co-created by a team of young people who have lived with mental health conditions.
Shelf Help can be recommended by Health professionals, GPs, School Nurses etc but it is also there to support young people who may be concerned about their own emotional wellbeing or concerned about a friend and need some advice. Check out the link to see some of the titles: