Our generation’s epidemic: Young people’s awareness and experience of mental health information, support and services

SYP_LogoNew research from the Scottish Youth Parliament highlights some worrying findings relating to young people and their mental health. Our generation’s epidemic: Young people’s awareness and experience of mental health information, support and services found that, of the 1,483 12 to 26 years olds who took part in the research:

  • 74% do not know what mental health information, support, and services are available in their local area
  • Young people feel that there is a range of barriers to talking openly about mental health, including embarrassment, fear of being judged, and a lack of understanding about mental health
  • One in five young people do not know where to go for advice and support for a mental health problem
  • 27% of young people do not feel supported to talk about mental health in their school, college, university, or workplace
  • 18% of young people who consider themselves to have experienced a mental health problem have not accessed mental health services.

Young people feel there are a number of issues with mental health services, including accessibility and lack of confidentiality, that are not being taken seriously due to age, and non-person-centred treatment.

The report sets out 11 recommendations to resolve these issues including:

  • Education Scotland and further and higher education bodies should ensure that all schools, colleges, and universities provide high quality information about mental health, and direct young people to safe online resources such as Aye Mind. Pupils and students should be consulted about the type of information they would like to receive, and be involved in the design of information when appropriate.
  • Every school, college, university, and youth group should implement a Mental Health Action Plan to promote mental health conversations and support.
  • Education Scotland, in conjunction with the Scottish Government, should review the provision of counsellors in schools and seek to establish a minimum level of service provision.
  • NHS Education for Scotland should work with young people to update its training and CPD opportunities for frontline medical professionals in supporting young people’s mental health

Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young PeopleIn the foreword to the report Tam Ballie, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland calls on every politician, civil servant, NHS manager and other key stakeholder to read the report and implement its recommendations. He states ” This report represents the findings of one of the largest surveys undertaken in Scotland that focuses on young people’s mental health and its recommendations should therefore be seriously considered by decision makers.”

On our helpline we often receive calls from worried parents concerned their child is missing school or not coping well in school because of mental health issues. We provide advice and information about how parents can work with the school to help their child back to school or to access additional support. We also provide links to useful resources including:

0345 123 2303
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