At least 850,000 children in the UK are diagnosed with a mental health condition, and the figure is rising.
In a recent BBC poll, nearly two-thirds of the public felt it was vital for schools to have regular interaction with a specialist mental healthcare service.
But few schools do.
Regrettably, in this modern age of technology, poor economy, increasing family breakdowns, poor diet and lack of regular exercise, increasing numbers of children and teenagers are finding life too difficult to cope with, resulting in the early development of stress, anxiety, depression, a tendency to self-harm, eating disorders, addictions developing and in the worst cases, suicide.
An alarming number of young people live with mental health issues in their lives, worrying about family members of friends who are ill in some way and increasingly, by suffering themselves with any number of wide ranging mental health issues themselves.
1 in 5
Young adults show signs of an eating disorder
Increase in number of 15-16 year olds who self-harm since 2004
The number of 11-18 year olds with severe depression
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as not simply the absence of disorder but ‘a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’.1 This broader definition is particularly appropriate in childhood and adolescence, as mental health is the foundation of healthy development and mental health problems at this life stage can have adverse and long-lasting effects.