Young people have been urged to look out for signs of mental
health problems on the back of research which shows that most know
someone who has suffered from a mental health problem,
writes Katie Leason.
Figures unveiled by health minister Jacqui Smith, show that
nearly nine out of ten 15-21 year olds know someone who has
experienced a mental health problem. A third know someone who has
tried to commit suicide and a quarter are worried about the mental
health of a young person they know.
However, 97 per cent of the 1001 young people surveyed said they
felt their peers knew little about mental health and that more
information should be made available to them.
Peter Wilson, chief executive of children’s mental health
charity Young Minds said the figures showed young people were more
aware of mental health issues than has been previously
“There is recognition that mental health issues are a part
of everyday life but at the same time young people don’t feel
comfortable with the knowledge they have. They and their parents
need to know how to help friends who are struggling with the
demands of growing up,” he said.
Read the Signs, a programme to encourage understanding and
discussion of mental health problems among 14- to 21-year-olds, has
been launched as part of the Department of Health’s Mind Out
for Mental Health campaign. See www.readthesigns.org