A BBC analysis
shows there has been a 77% rise
in the number of children needing specialist treatment for severe mental health crisis.
under-18-year-olds were referred to NHS England for issues such as suicidal thoughts
and self-harm between April and October 2021.
An NHS study
found that the rates of probable mental disorders in 6-to 16-year-olds
increased to one in six in 2021
, compared to one in nine in 2017.
The NHS study also found that nearly 17% of young people aged 11 to 16 said the number of likes, comments, and shares they receive on social media had an impact on their mood. 50.7% spend more time on social media than they are meant to.
15.5% of 11-to-16-year-olds feel their lives have been made much worse due to coronavirus restrictions.
The number of children and young people in touch with children and adolescent psychiatric teams now is 349,449 – the highest number ever on record.
42% of primary schools
and 46% of secondary schools said
that pupils’ emotional and mental health is the biggest challenge to helping them catch up with learning.
The above survey also found teachers are concerned with loss of social development during the pandemic, increased stress at home, pupils being more anxious, and some experiencing severe mental health issues.
Talking to Children and Young People about Mental Health
Here are 3 things to consider when having a conversation with a child (or young person) regarding their mental health and wellbeing:
1. Active Listening
Active listening is more than just ‘hearing’. It is listening with full concentration and demonstrating that you are listening.
Maintaining eye-contact, nodding your head, smiling, and saying ‘yes’ or ‘mmm’ will show you are listening without judgement. Be mindful not to interrupt or hurry them. If they struggle to talk, it might help if you ask them to write it down.
2. Open Questions
Asking open questions allows for more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer and encourages a flow of conversation.
You may suspect there may be more depth to an issue than your child is letting on. Open questions will help you explore any potential risk. Examples are:
- How are you? How are you getting on with schoolwork?
- You don’t seem yourself lately. What’s on your mind?
- I notice you’re not taking part in your usual hobbies at the moment. I’m wondering if there’s a reason for this?
Reassurance is given through active listening and asking open questions.
You can give further reassurance by highlighting ways you can help and how you and others can support them.
Encourage them to think about who they feel comfortable talking to, like a Trusted Adult.