The Young Minds website http://www.youngminds.org.uk/ quotes some startling figures about the extent of young people who have mental health problems.
- 50,000 children aged 5-16 have mental health problems
- Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health disorder
- Roughly 725,000 people in the UK suffer from eating disorders, 86% of these will have shown symptoms before the age of 19
- One in 10 deliberately harm themselves regularly (and 15,000 of them are hospitalised each year because of this)
- Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression
- Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14
- 45% of children in care have a mental health disorder - these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society
- Nearly 300,000 young people in Britain have an anxiety disorder
Many thousands of children and young people are isolated, unhappy, have eating disorders and self-harm; some tragically take their own lives. Many are likely to become victims of crime, grow up in dysfunctional families, or left to cope with illness, drugs and/or alcohol issues – not necessarily their own.
There is still a huge stigma around mental health which means children and young people are not getting the support they need. Mental health problems can lead to young people being disruptive, difficult, withdrawn and disturbed and it’s vital they are supported and not just ignored or told off.
At the academy we are acutely aware of this issue and we aim to pick up signs of mental health issues in any of our students as soon as possible. One of our Students Support Managers, Mrs Millward, is also our Mental Health Champion. In this role she has received training that covers these areas -
- What is mental health?
- Depression and anxiety
- Suicide and psychosis
- Self-harm and eating disorders
For each area there is a focus on issues faced by some young people, including bullying/cyber bullying and substance misuse and the importance of promoting wellbeing and protective factors. Our aim at the academy is to -
- Spot the early signs of a mental health issue in young people
- Feel confident helping a young person experiencing mental ill health
- Provide help on a first aid basis
- Help protect a young person who might be at risk of harm
- Help prevent a mental health issue from getting worse
- Help a young person recover faster
- Guide a young person towards the right support
- Reduce the stigma of mental health issues
Mrs Millward is supported by the pastoral team who work with the students, parents and, if necessary outside agencies such as North Lincolnshire CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, an NHS service), to try and support the young person through difficult times and aim to find a lasting resolution.