When you’re having a bad day, do you talk about it? We live in a society where it can seem like the only answer to “How are you?” is “Fine”. Social media puts us all under pressure to show off the perfect life, only uploading our happiest moments. Meanwhile 1 in 5 young people experience a mental health problem of one kind or another in a given year. It’s a real problem that’s too often invisible.
Talking about your difficulties and problems can be tough, as mental health issues are often stigmatised. This is a guide to resources which may help you work things out.
Mental Health In Young People In The UK
The stigma surrounding mental health is slowly breaking down. Public figures like Prince Harry have come out to talk about their experiences with depression and other issues. The Prince spoke publically about the counselling he needed to help him get through his grief and depression in the wake of his mother’s death. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are working together with Prince Harry and several charities on the Heads Together program to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
Things are improving too in the healthcare system. Plans are being drawn up to give young people in primary and secondary schools full time access to NHS mental health professionals.
Common experiences for young people
If you’re a teenager or young adult, chances are you’ve had one or more of these going on in your life at some point. The important thing is realising that these states of mind don’t have to define you. Talking things over with a close friend, parent or mental health professional can give you the tools you need to overcome them and reprogram your thinking
- Feeling depressed or hopeless
- Feeling angry at yourself or others
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts to harm yourself
- Anxiety and stress, to the point where it interferes with your life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Disliking your body or the way you look
Don’t think you are alone. There’s a lot you can do to manage your state of mind.
Looking after yourself : Ask for help
There are many services in the area that can help you work through what you’re experiencing. They’ve seen it all before and will listen to you with respect. A good place to start is a GP appointment. Your GP will be able to refer you on to the service that will work best for you.
- The Berkshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) are specialists for young people. You need a referral from a GP or a social worker to access the service.
- If you’re 17 and over, you can visit Talking Therapies in Berkshire for counselling. You can contact them yourself, or get a referral through your GP.
- If you’re 18 and over, you may be referred to the Community Mental Health Team in Slough, Berkshire.
Looking after yourself: What you can do
- Challenge negative thinking
It can often feel like your thoughts and feelings are out of your control. But the truth is, they’re the only things in the world we have full control over. You can choose to think differently and turn negative self-talk into positive encouragement.
- Find time to relax
The hectic pressure of life grinds everyone down. If you’re struggling under a burden of schoolwork or too many hours at your job, take some time just for yourself. Calm down and de-stress. Youngminds.org has a page on ways to relax that’s really helpful.
- Stay active and connected
Exercise and seeing people can both be huge mood boosters and get you out of your own head for a while. You could try joining a new sport or club, and meeting new people.
Online services- where to get help
- SANE: Provides emotional support for anyone affected by mental illness
- Samaritans: People to listen to you, whenever you need it.
- Young Minds: Guides to mental health conditions and self-care
- NHS Youth Mental Health Hub
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you’re uncomfortable with how you’re thinking and feeling, contact any of the services or organisations we mentioned above, or book an out of hours GP appointment here.