A survey of over 12,000 young people carried out be mental health charity Mind, reveals that three in five young people have experienced a mental health problem or are close to someone who has. The survey also shows that one in seven young people say their mental health is currently poor or very poor.

As well as highlighting the sheer scale of the pressures faced by young people and the breadth of the challenges they face, the report also looked at how secondary schools are promoting and supporting their wellbeing. The results show that when it comes to accessing support within school, there were problems with knowing where to go, and then getting the right kind of help. Mind’s survey found:

  • Almost two in five of all pupils said they wouldn’t know where to go to access support within school and half said they wouldn’t feel confident approaching teachers or other school staff if they needed help.
  • Around one in five young people had accessed support for their mental health within school. Of these, two in five said they didn’t find the support helpful and two in three said they weren’t involved in decisions made about that support.

In terms of receiving help outside the school gates, less than one in three pupils who had experienced a mental health problem had used mental health services. This means that there is a huge gap in the numbers of young people needing help and those actually accessing support from the NHS.

Louise Clarkson, Head of Children and Young People at Mind, said, “We spoke to thousands of young people to try to better understand the scale of poor mental health across secondary schools in England and Wales. There were some really positive findings, with most pupils saying that, on the whole, they thought their schools believed good mental health was important and promoted wellbeing. But we also heard from many young people experiencing problems with their mental health. Despite the high levels of poor mental health among young people, many are not accessing support and those that are aren’t always getting what they need.

“It’s not schools at fault – we know they are under increasing pressure to provide wellbeing support for pupils at a time of rising demand and gaps in NHS mental health services. We know that many are doing the best job they can with limited resources and staff need the right expertise and support from other parts of the system. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement about training for teachers is welcome but it’s only one part of the picture – school staff need to know that if they are starting conversations about mental health with a young person, there are services in place to refer them onto.

“It’s time for a fresh approach to supporting young people and equipping them to look after their mental health. With so many young people affected, and knowing that most mental health problems start in childhood, this is rapidly becoming one of the major challenges our society faces. We need to listen to what young people are telling us and be guided by them when designing services and support.”

You can find out more about the report on the Mind website.

If you are interested in mental health awareness in Oxfordshire then mark the 12th February 2020 in your calendar for the next Youth in Mind conference. This event is a must for anyone working with children and young people in Oxfordshire. Read more about this year’s event or contact us if you would like more information about the upcoming event.