Three in five young people experience mental health problems

The mental health charity Mind has revealed that 59 per cent of young people have either experienced a mental health problem themselves, or are close to someone who has.

Based on a survey of over 12,000 young people aged between 11 and 19, Mind is using the data to highlight the sheer scale of the pressures faced by young people. The survey also shows that 14 per cent of young people say their mental health is currently poor or very poor.

When it comes to accessing support within school, there were problems with knowing where to go, and then getting the right kind of help. Mind’s survey found that 38 per cent of all pupils wouldn’t know where to go to access support within school and 52 per cent said they wouldn’t feel confident approaching teachers or other school staff if they needed help.

Furthermore, around one in five young people  had accessed support for their mental health within school. But, of these, almost one in two said they didn’t find the support helpful and two in three said they weren’t involved in decisions made about that support.

Louise Clarkson, head of Children and Young People at Mind, said: “We spoke to thousands of young people to try to better understand the scale of poor mental health across secondary schools in England and Wales. There were some really positive findings, with most pupils saying that, on the whole, they thought their schools believed good mental health was important and promoted wellbeing. But we also heard from many young people experiencing problems with their mental health. Despite the high levels of poor mental health among young people, many are not accessing support and those that are aren’t always getting what they need.

“It’s not schools at fault – we know they are under increasing pressure to provide wellbeing support for pupils at a time of rising demand and gaps in NHS mental health services. We know that many are doing the best job they can with limited resources and staff need the right expertise and support from other parts of the system. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement about training for teachers is welcome but it’s only one part of the picture – school staff need to know that if they are starting conversations about mental health with a young person, there are services in place to refer them onto.

“It’s time for a fresh approach to supporting young people and equipping them to look after their mental health. With so many young people affected, and knowing that most mental health problems start in childhood, this is rapidly becoming one of the major challenges our society faces. We need to listen to what young people are telling us and be guided by them when designing services and support.”