There are many different types of mental health issues that affect many of us daily. Mental Health can affect many of us no matter what our gender or ethnic background. Children and young people can also be affected by mental health even at the early stages of their lives. Types of mental health can range from the following;
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Personality Disorder
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Selective Mutism
- Problems Sleeping
- Sexuality Issues
- ADHD / ADD
- Hearing Voices
There are many more also. Each type of mental health issue is very different. They will have different symptoms and affect us in different ways. Mental health problems are very common. Statistics show that mental health issues affect 1 in 10 children and young people. (Mentalhealth.org.uk) Alarmingly, 70% of children and young people who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. Emotional wellbeing is just as important as a child or young persons physical. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the skills and resilience to cope with whatever life may throw at them and will help them to develop as a healthy adult.
Ways in which to help a child or young person keep mentally well are:
- A good physical health (a balanced diet along with regular exercise)
- Having enough time and freedom to play both indoors and outdoors
- Being part of a family that all get along well most of the time
- Going to a school that ensures that all children and young people are cared for appropriately
- Taking part in local activities
- Feeling loved and trusted
- Being valued and kept safe
- Being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
- To be hopeful and optimistic
- Being accepted for who they are and recognising what they’re good at
- Having some control over their own life
- Having strength and resilience to cope when things are wrong
- Having the ability to solve problems
Statistics show that more children and young people have problems with their mental health compared to 30 years ago. This is most likely due to changes in the way we live and how it affects us when growing up.
Things that happen to young people or children aren’t necessarily what causes a mental health issue on their own but traumatic events such as trigger problems for young people and children who are already vulnerable. Changes can often act as triggers: moving home or school, parental separation, loss or bereavement, or the birth of a new brother or sister, for example. Some children who start school feel excited about making new friends and doing new activities, but there may also be some who feel anxious about entering a new environment. Teenagers often experience emotional turmoil as their minds and bodies develop. An important part of growing up is working out and accepting who you are. Some young people find it hard to make this transition to adulthood and may experiment with alcohol, drugs or other substances that can affect their mental health.
There are certain risk factors that make some children and young people more likely to experience problems than other children, but they don’t necessarily mean difficulties are bound to come up or are even probable.
Some of these factors include:
- Having a long-term physical illness
- Having a parent who has had mental health problems, problems with alcohol or has been in trouble with the law
- Experiencing the death of someone close to them
- Having parents who separate or divorce
- Having been severely bullied or physically, emotionally or sexually abused
- Living in poverty or being homeless
- Experiencing discrimination, perhaps because of their race, sexuality or religion
- Acting as a carer for a relative, taking on adult responsibilities
- Having long-standing educational difficulties.
The most common mental health issues that occur in children and young people are;
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Eating Disorders
- Trouble Sleeping
- Night Terrors
It is highly recommended to seek help for your child or loved one if they are not of age to give their own consent, or to seek help if you are. The AoC Trust in March 2018 were the proud winners of a £30,000 Grant awarded from Children in Need. The grant is to provide therapy and counselling support for children and young people aged between 3 years – 18 years old on an exciting project called ProjectME Mindcraft. The project is now well under way and is due to last until summer 2021. The project will be supporting young people and children in the Dudley Metropolitan Borough with mental health issues for FREE.
ProjectME Mindcraft welcomes referrals from primary, secondary, specialist schools, fostering services, GPs, children’s mental health services and privately from individuals. There are limited places available, and there is a short waiting list and conducted on a first come, first served basis. So, if you are a school, GP, fostering agency, parent or carer who has children and/or young persons between the ages of 3-18 who are experiencing any form of mental health issue, you can get in touch with The AOC Trust. Each child or young person will work with professional counsellors or therapists, receive six free sessions which can be held at alternative venues such as our counselling and therapy studios in central Dudley or at the school of the client etc. If you would like to contact The AOC Trust to find out more please call, email or write to them at the following:
T – 01384 211 168
P – The AoC, St James House, Trinity Road, Dudley, DY1 1JB.
My Thoughts on Mental Health in Children & Young People
I myself do not personally know of any young person or child with a mental health issue (to my knowledge) & haven’t suffered myself but I was shocked when I found out that children as young as three years old can have a mental health problem. It’s scary to think someone so young and small can be suffering so much. I fully believe we need to raise more awareness for mental health for all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds. Mental health can be crippling and ruin lives which is why we should always be nice and support one another as we do not know issues they are fighting against inside their heads. There are many charities and organisations that are already trying to raise awareness and we can all do our best to help and support them by donating or doing sponsored events. I have now been working with The AoC for 4 years and have seen some transformations in people who were suffering with mental health issues to remarkable effect. I can’t stress enough how important it is to speak out & seek help so you’re not bottling up all your issues. Something as simple as talking can help so much & our professional counsellors and therapists will help you to ease or overcome your issues. They can and will support you, you are not alone, speak up for yourself and the millions of others it will change your life.
If you are concerned about any child or young person or indeed you are worried about your own mental health, you can also contact your GP and request a full psychiatric assessment from a local psychiatrist.
Thanks for reading.