Research indicates that throughout the world, young people’s mental health and wellbeing is at risk. Indeed, media headlines warn of a global mental health crisis. In 2020, the Children’s Society reported that one in six children aged between 5 and 16 years of age globally suffer from a mental health problem. 50% of all mental health problems begin by the age of 14 and 75% of young people with a mental health problem are not receiving the help and support they need.
Recognising that a young person is struggling with their mental health may not be easy to identify. Many young people may attempt to hide how they are feeling. This can be for a multitude of reasons including concern about stigma or feelings of guilt and shame associated with mental illness. However, it may also be because they aren’t sure where or how to get the help they need.
There are differences of opinion about what constitutes mental ill health and how mental health problems should be treated. There are some key differences in the approaches that can be taken in providing support for young people, for example at times it can include the use of medication, counselling and talking therapies. However, research indicates that providing early support can significantly enhance mental health. Recent studies also suggest that resilience – which describes the capacity to endure and bounce back from adversity – is a quality and skill that can be developed and supported in young people, and that it can positively impact their longer-term mental health and wellbeing.