There’s no doubt about it – adults are more aware of mental health issues than ever before. However, the confidence needed to identify someone with a mental health condition is still lacking. And a recent survey of just over 2000 adults has confirmed just that, as Dr Raphael Kelvin, Child Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead for the MindEd programme, explains.
The survey, commissioned by MindEd, a consortium of mental health experts, took place earlier this month and found that over a third (38 percent) of adults would not know how to identify a child or young person with mental health issues.
And for those that did, just over half (51 percent) said they would be worried about approaching the issue with the child, or the child’s parent, in case they were mistaken.
We already know that half of lifetime mental illnesses are apparent by the age of 14, with three-quarters established by the age of 21, yet 75 percent of young people go completely untreated. This puts them at increased risk of alcohol and drug misuse, self-harm, neglect and in extreme cases, suicide.
So to help ensure young people get the help they need, the MindEd Consortium launched a brand new website this month which contains quality assured advice and information on child and adolescent mental health. Its aim – to give adults who work with young people the skills to support wellbeing and to identify children at risk of mental health conditions early, the confidence to act on their concerns and signpost them to the services that can help.
Funded by the Department of Health, MindEd is free to access and provides a considerable suite of bite-size e-learning packages, individually tailored to each audience group – teachers and sports coaches, healthcare professionals, police and judiciary staff, social workers and many more.
With well over 20 different mental health conditions with many different signs and symptoms, we’re not saying adults need to become doctors. But if every professional and volunteer used MindEd to become more mental health aware, we could potentially prevent thousands of children falling through the gaps and missing out on much needed care and support.
If you’re interested in MindEd and think people in your organisation might be too, contact the team at Mind.Ed@rcpch.ac.uk. They'll be able to give you the latest information and some useful tools, including this new film, which you can use to encourage colleagues to start using the website.