YOUNG­MINDS

The Daily Telegraph - - Christmas Charity Special -

The ad­vent of the tech­no­log­i­cal age has led to ever greater aware­ness – and con­cern – over the men­tal health of chil­dren and young peo­ple. Yet when those who are suf­fer­ing reach out for help, of­ten it can ap­pear that none is avail­able.

The NHS is only able to sup­port around one in three young peo­ple with a di­ag­nos­able men­tal health prob­lem. For par­ents, it can be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to know where to turn.

A sur­vey this year re­vealed three quar­ters of chil­dren and young peo­ple who seek men­tal health treat­ment be­come more un­well while wait­ing for help.

This year, Young­minds cel­e­brates its 25th an­niver­sary and the work it does has never been more ur­gent. It is a vi­tal life­line to thou­sands of par­ents and car­ers, and its free Par­ents Helpline takes around 1,100 calls a month from peo­ple con­cerned about the men­tal health of their chil­dren. But with ex­tra fund­ing, it could help many more.

Its staff and vol­un­teers ad­vise par­ents on is­sues such as prob­lems at school, bul­ly­ing, self­harm, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, body im­age, fam­ily break­down and the pres­sures of so­cial me­dia. Where spe­cial­ist sup­port is re­quired, the char­ity pro­vides free call­backs from health pro­fes­sion­als.

Young­minds also runs a train­ing pro­gramme for pro­fes­sion­als, part­ners with schools to im­prove sup­port, and trains a net­work of hun­dreds of young ac­tivists to har­ness their own ex­pe­ri­ences to help oth­ers get bet­ter.

In to­day’s Satur­day

sec­tion, three par­ents and their chil­dren talk about how the char­ity has helped them.

Gift of friend­ship: young peo­ple get to know they are not alone

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