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