Why aren’t more young people seeking help for their mental health?
Updated: Apr 11, 2019
Mental health problems affect 1 in 10 children and young people, so why isn't more being done to help those uncertain how to cope with these unfamiliar feelings?
Statistics released from the NHS’s Mental Health Services revealed that there were 1,331,375 in contact with services at the end of January this year. The majority of these (1,039,161) were adult mental health services. That makes up more than 70% of the overall result. This does mean however, only a small margin of young people were in contact with these services; so why aren’t more young people seeking help for their mental health?
Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. A new report by YoungMinds found in a survey conducted amongst 2,700 young people and 1,600 parents, that only 9% of young people said they had found it easy to get the mental health support they needed, along with just 6% of parents saying the same about their children. The reports also states that 94% of parents and 81% of young people agreed that there is not enough support for children and young people's mental health.
People are becoming more and more willing to talk about mental health, which is great to see, but access to services and lack of understanding of symptoms may be the reasons behind the lack of young people seeking help for their mental health.
A lot referrals for children and young people are often rejected due to reasons such as their conditions were not serious enough to meet the criteria for treatment. The Education Policy Institute estimates that there were at least 55,800 children not accepted into treatment in 2017/18. They state that the real figure is likely to be far higher due to a lot of providers not disclosing their referral numbers.
It is hard for anyone to come to terms with poor mental health; for many it is simply just a lack of understanding of the feelings they're experiencing. This may be even more prevalent in young people. With mental health education not fully implemented in all schools, there's not many opportunities for young people to learn and understand about anything they may be going through. Going back to the YoungMinds survey, 51% of young people said they hadn't understood what they were going through.
The emotional well being of young people is important. Good mental health encourages healthy development, so they can grow and develop into well-rounded adults with the skills to cope with whatever life may throw at them.