Are you – or is anyone that you care about – in need of a helping hand? Read through the following information and use the recommended websites.
These are just some of the mental health issues affecting young people in the UK.
You are not alone.
Youth Mental Health First Aiders
In School, some members of staff have been trained as Youth Mental Health First Aiders. Please speak to your Head of Year or Tutor/Mentor if you would like to talk to one of them. We care about your wellbeing.
Please remember that trained staff are not counsellors, but they can help you to help yourself.
Everybody experiences anxiety at some point in time. It is a natural response, useful in helping us to avoid dangerous situations and motivating us to solve everyday problems. Anxiety may vary in severity from mild uneasiness through to a panic attack.
Top tip: Caffeine gives us a boost and increases feelings of alertness. In higher doses it produces effects similar to anxiety, disrupts sleep and can make panic attacks more likely. People who experience anxious states should reduce their daily intake to 300mg or less. Many people find it best to avoid caffeine altogether.
Depression and Anxiety
The word ‘depression’ is used in many different ways. Everyone can feel down when bad things happen. However, everyday ‘blues’ or sadness is not depression. People with ‘the blues’ may have a short-term depressed mood, but they can manage to cope and soon recover without treatment.
Clinical depression is one that lasts for at least two weeks, affects an individual’s behaviour and has physical, emotional and cognitive effects. In England it affects around 5 in every 100 teenagers.
Self-harm is a behaviour and not an illness. People self-harm to cope with emotional stress or to communicate that they are distressed. Self-harm can occur at any age but is most common in adolescence and young adulthood.
Many acts of self-harm do not come to the attention of healthcare services, and hospital attendance rates do not reflect the true scale of the problem. It can be difficult to talk about self-harm.
There is a self-harm report card free to download from the National Self Harm Network website. This can be handed in to a doctor to help take the first steps towards recovery.
- Depression Alliance: www.depressionalliance.org tel: 0845 123 23 20
- Mind: www.mind.org.uk Info Line: 0300 123 3393
- Young Minds: www.youngminds.org.uk
- Childline: www.childline.org.uk tel: 0800 1111
- Talk Don’t Walk: www.therelationshipcentre.co.uk/talkdontwalk Helpline: 01925 246 910
- National Self Harm Network: www.nshn.co.uk tel: 0800 622 6000
- Harmless: www.harmless.org.uk
- Bristol Crisis service for women: www.selfinjurysupport.org.uk
Text support: 0780 047 2908 (charged at your normal rate)
- Dancing in the rain: The final cut, Tara L Nicole, 2006.
- Life after self-Harm: A Guide To The Future, Ulrike Schmidt & Kate Davidson, 2004
- There are more books on offer in the school library
Eating disorders can begin for a variety of reasons, e.g. bullying, pressure and low self-esteem. It involves a disturbance of eating patterns which leads to reduced physical health, psychological health and social functioning.
Eating disorders frequently occur together with depression and anxiety disorders.
Most young people with disturbance of eating habits or weight control behaviour do not fit the typical patterns of either anorexia or bulimia.
- About 90% of people with anorexia are female, although there is now more support for males with the condition
- Bulimia is more common than anorexia
- Binge-eating (compulsive over-eating) is the most common atypical eating disorder.
Alcohol and Substance Misuse
There is growing concern about young people’s use of drugs and alcohol. Here are some facts:
- Alcohol consumption has doubled over the last 50 years and is still rising.
- Young drinkers aged 11 to 15 in England doubled their average weekly consumption from 5.3 units in 1990 to 10.4 in 2004.
- The greatest increase has been amongst girls aged 14.
- In each year, among those who drank, boys consumed more alcohol than girls in every age group.
- The proportion of children who drank increased with age, from 4% of 11 year olds to 45% of 15 year olds in 2004.
- Every day, two people below the age of 24 kill themselves.
- A conservative estimate is that there are 19 000 cases of attempted suicide by adolescents (of 10-19 years) each year in England and Wales, which is one attempt every 30 minutes.
- There is a strong link between alcohol use and suicide attempts – it is estimated that one third of suicides are committed when the young person is intoxicated.
- Bullying can lead to a young person considering suicide.
- There are lots of ways to report bullying in school: Email it, post it or speak to someone if you witness bullying or are being bullied.
Coping with Exam Stress
Tests and exams can be a challenging part of school life for both children and parents. But there are ways to ease the stress. Having someone to talk to about schoolwork can help. Support from a parent, tutor or ‘study buddy’ can help children share their worries and keep things in perspective.
Here are some useful links:
- NHS: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/coping-with-exam-stress.aspx
- BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1HsY1X8ySjKBMVXPVCbP4qH/exam-stress
- Anxiety UK: https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/get-help-now/anxietyinformation/young-people-and-anxiety/exam-stressanxiety/
- Mind: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/student-life/coping-with-academic-work-and-exams/#.Vgw5pmMo_IU
- Childline: https://www.childline.org.uk/Explore/SchoolCollege/Pages/exam-stress.aspx