This blog may ring bells with teenagers and parents/carers alike…

Alarm bells have been ringing for some time now in schools, in further education and at home as growth statistics on teenage mental health issues rise alarmingly…so here are some stats;

10% of 5 – 16 year olds have a diagnosable mental health condition (NHS data).

20% of adolescents have mental health issues in any one year.

70% of teenagers with mental health issues have not had appropriate support or intervention (2013 – 2017)

Seventy per cent!! Wow – that is massive…

Emotional disorders are the most common in teenagers. This means stress, anxiety, social media dependency and bullying, social anxiety, self-esteem issues, exam and testing pressures and family issues such as separation and bereavement.

Notice this; these are all mostly REACTIVE situations, caused to teenagers by external events and situations that they become increasingly unable to manage or cope with.

Waiting lists for CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) support are huge…they are an amazing organisation, but the need far outweighs the services available.

Schools do their best – but the services available to them are massively stretched and patchy.

Schools are also dealing with staff shortages, extensive cuts in special needs provision, increased class sizes and the external pressures from budget cuts, league tables and exam results…

What to do??

Talk – and listen – about the problem…without distraction and interruption – ideally in a car or round the tea table as open communication is everything.

Do not judge, over-react, criticise or argue. It is of no benefit to anyone.

Research, research, research…you are not alone, and there are support groups on line for all of the above. Speak to CAMHS and charities that offer advice.

Share your concerns with your wider family and trustworthy friends

Share your concerns with the institution involved and seek their support – ideally with someone you/your child likes and trusts – and don’t give up!

Find a website and/or therapist that you can relate to or connect with that speaks to you in language that you understand

Seek advice from a counsellor or therapist who specialises in adolescent issues. Most will give a free initial consultation, and some will provide means tested support. It may only need a few sessions to address the problem.