As a counsellor/psychotherapist working in private practice, I have seen a marked increase over the past year in the number of younger children and teenagers who have a variety of anxiety and other mental health issues.
I am writing this article simply to point out that these children and young people need help straight away, when they have asked for help (or when an adult has identified that the child/young person is in need of help). The situation is only likely to worsen, if help is not provided in a timely fashion (rather than 6 months to 2 years later)!
The following excerpt from a report on the UK Government’s website is a huge cause for concern for parents, carers, teachers and anyone else who cares about the mental health of children and young people in this country.
‘Around half of all lifetime mental health problems start by the mid-teens, and three-quarters by the mid-20s, although treatment typically does not start until a number of years later.
The most recent survey of the mental health of children and young people in England found that 12.5% of 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed (2017), and 5% met the criteria for 2 or more mental disorders. There also appears to be a slight increase over time in the prevalence of mental disorder in 5 to 15 year olds, rising from 9.7% (1999) to 10.1% (2004) to 11.2% (2017)’.
In addition, this report finds that:
Poor mental wellbeing in childhood and youth increases the likelihood in later life of:
- poor educational attainment
- antisocial behaviour
- drug and alcohol misuse
- teenage pregnancy
- involvement in criminal activity
- mental health problems
Risk factors that may increase childhood vulnerability and reduce childhood mental wellbeing include:
- being in social care (looked after children)
- youth offending
- low household income
- family disharmony/parental breakup
- domestic violence and abuse
- parental substance misuse
- parental mental ill health and school absence and exclusions
If you notice any negative changes in your child’s moods or behaviour/teenager’s moods or behaviour, then I would urge you to seek professional help for them without delay.
If their issues are not identified and addressed early enough, then there is the potential for long-term harm to their mental health and well-being, which, of course, is likely to negatively affect their adult life.
Anyone concerned about their child’s mental health should consult their GP or a professionally-qualified counsellor/psychotherapist.
If you are at all concerned and you wish to contact me, here are my contact details, or complete this Online Form:
Mobile: 07913 979561
Landline: 01422 321412
Diane Wade RegMBACP, GQHP, CNHC, DipHyp