Mental health issues are sadly becoming ever more prevalent in today’s society. One in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that’s roughly three children in every classroom*. This statistic becomes even more severe when we look to young adults with one in five having a diagnosable mental health disorder*.
Whether we attribute these worrying numbers to increased pressures at school, more cyber bullying or Brexit, we want to be pro-Activ and not re-Activ in supporting our children and staff.
Therefore, this week saw four of the Activ Camps team complete a Youth Mental Health First Aid course. Covering topics from anxiety and depression to self harm and eating disorders, we learnt about signs and symptoms of these conditions to enable early intervention.
We were also taught a five step approach to providing first aid for the mind;
1. Ask & assess:
Ask open and direct to find out what support the young person wants and needs. Don’t be scared to ask tough questions, tough questions make tough things easier to say. “Have you considered suicide?”.
Always be non judgemental
3. Give reassurance & information:
Make sure the person knows you are there to support them and remind them of others too. Reassure them this is not their fault. There are many wonderful organisations that can help, we’ve listed a few below.
4. Enable the young person to get professional help:
As mentioned, there are a huge number of organisation and professional who want to help however that first step can be very hard, support them in making the call or going to the doctor.
5. Encourage self-help strategies:
Not only will self-help strategies have a therapeutic benefit, they will also help the young person feel that they are regaining control of their lives and doing something very positive for themselves.
Below are a few organisations for further information on this topic:
24hr helpline offering emotional support for people who are experiencing distress or despair, or thinking about suicide.
Tel: 0845 790 9090
National menal health charity that provides great resources on depressions and manic depression. You can also find information on local help.
Info line: 0300123 3393
The UK’s leading charity committed to supporting emotional wellbeing and mental health in young people.
Parents helpline: 0808 802 5544
Organisation that provides a range of services about self-harm including support, information, training and consultancy to those affected, friends, family and professionals.
Anorexia and Bulimia Care (ABC)
ABC provides personal advice and support to anyone affected by anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and all kinds of eating distress.
* Green H et al (2005) Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.