Mental Health support for young people

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In January 2020, Ocean Youth, part of Sound Communities conducted research via Facebook that showed that of the 650 Torbay schoolchildren polled, 500 of them felt lonely at least some of the time with 42% of them feeling lonely most of the time.

Concerns about young people and mental health are rising. This is a national issue which can be compounded in areas like Torbay where young people can feel that their views and needs are being ignored.

Healthwatch England have now published a report which looks at current research on young people and mental health which could provide useful steps to supporting young people in Torbay.

What affects young people’s mental health?
Stigma – Stigma is still an issue, and they told us that they often bottle up their feelings until they reach crisis point.

Pressures – Young people feel under pressure to succeed and told us about the stress they experience due to external factors like exams, as well as peer pressure and pressure they place on themselves.

Social media – Young people told us how social media can be a trigger for poor mental health. However, they also shared it can be used positively to raise awareness, reduce stigma and build online communities.

Gender – We also heard about gender-specific triggers. Young men told us how they don’t feel safe reaching out for help due to gendered social expectations, with some turning to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Young women told us that self-esteem and pressures around body image are a common trigger.

We have provided a link to the Healthwatch England website below which includes an overview of the research and a link to the full report here.

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(Author)

Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!

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