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#YoungMindsMatter - Why Mental Health should be a priority for all

One in four people will suffer from a mental health problem each year, according to Mind.

Safeera Sarjoo
01st March 2016
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Mental health is one of those areas that we constantly hear statistics about. However we don’t realise how widespread it is until you’re actually faced with an issue yourself or a loved one suffering from one of many conditions.

The Huffington Post launched the #YoungMindsMatter campaign recently along with the help of the Duchess of Cambridge who guest edited the news site. Together, they brought readers an abundance of stories of people experiencing mental health issues and those that have weathered their way through serious conditions that affect others every year.

‘Together, we want to open up the conversation around mental health - an issue that's too often stigmatised and discussed only in whispers, if at all,’ Arianna Huffington wrote.

So let’s do just that.

The #YoungMindsMatter campaign zoned in on mental health affecting children and we were astounded with some of the statistics in this area. HuffPost UK Editor-in-Chief Stephen Hull said there was an estimated 70,000 11 year old living with a mental health problem – ‘that’s enough people to filled Manchester United’s football stadium.’

If we widen that age gap to 5 to 16 year olds, 1 in 10 children within suffers from a diagnosable mental health disorder, according to YoungMinds, a leading charity that supports the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

That’s three children in every class.

Conversation is incredibly important to understanding the hurdles people face with a mental health disorder. The landscape encompasses so many conditions such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, which aren’t as unusual within our society anymore, to more uncommon problems like loneliness, anger and personality disorders, which are less explored.

Although the purpose of the #YoungMindsMatter campaign and even Children’s Mental Health Week hosted by Place2Be sought to raise awareness, it’s important to pay attention to proactive action that will make a difference.

Early intervention is actually crucial to helping people. These services are run differently in different parts of the country but the overall aim is to provide a wide range of help to patients and their families to help their understanding of the condition they are suffering from. In addition to the different types of therapies provided, early intervention involves helping people get back to or continue to work and study as well as help with finances and housing issues.

Early intervention is great if sought early – someone suffering for a longer time may find the recovery process difficult. However there is an area for concern surrounding the length of these services. Studies that have followed people for more than two years do not always show longer-term benefits when specialist support is stopped from early intervention services.

This suggests that support should be provided longer than three years, which means it’s imperative that we continue encouraging people already working within the sector as well as those thinking about a career within mental health.

Our providers run some incredible training courses for those looking to pursue a career within the sector. City Lit encourages people’s understanding of mental wellbeing and mental ill health, while Shipley College teaches students how mental health conditions can affect people’s day to day life and how best to manage them.

The opportunities to gain experience are there but we must make sure that we don’t allow the stigma of mental health – especially within children – to hinder the progress already being made.

Whether you want to train as a medical professional or explore the psychology that leads to these disorders, education is the key that can make these careers a reality. Training and Courses are more than happy to support such aspirations if it means future generations will benefit in the long run.

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