‘We must not overlook mental health needs of Rutland youngsters’

Health news.
Health news.

A health watchdog has pledged to support Rutland’s young people after a survey found almost half needed help coping with school pressure.

Healthwatch Rutland and academics from the University of Leicester asked almost 1,000 youngsters in the county in Years 9 to 13 about education, bullying, the risks of social media and coping with illness.

Of those questioned, almost half said they had needed help coping with academic pressure. About 20 per cent needed help because of bullying, with half of that coming from social media.

Young people often turned to family and friends for support, according to the survey. But those who said they had reached the stage where they needed help were more likely to consider drugs, alcohol, eating and/or self-harm to relieve pressure.

More than 50 per cent had asked a family member for help and 88 per cent thought that was useful. Just 24 per cent had asked a teacher for help with 82 per cent finding it useful. And relatively few had sought help from a counsellor, psychiatrist, psychologist, GP or other source. The survey found there was a lack of knowledge about professional help.

Dr Ann Williams, the Healthwatch Rutland leader on the project, said: “This survey shows that although for many people living in Rutland is a great place to be the stresses and anxieties felt by our young people are no different from those in larger communities.

“It is so important that we build on this survey to ensure we have the right processes in place to help any young person who wants mental health support get it when they need it and from whom they want it. This means working with families, schools, youth organisations, the NHS and most of all young people themselves to make them aware that support is there and that if they need help they can get it.”

Healthwatch Rutland chairman Jennifer Fenelon added: “The mental health needs of young people are often overlooked and the professional help and support they need is often based on an inappropriate adult model of care. Hopefully this survey will alert all our stakeholders that an integrated approach that involves all those involved is the way forward.”

Visit www.healthwatchrutland.co.uk for help and advice.