World Mental Health Day focuses on young people

Wednesday is World Mental Health Day (October 10th), a date first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health and backed by the World Health Organisation.

This year’s theme is young people and mental health in a changing world.

The organisers say:

“Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension however. In some cases, if not recognised and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness. The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows.

“Many adolescents are also living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness

“Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex or dangerous driving. Eating disorders are also of concern.”

Research shows that bi people have particularly poor mental health on average, regardless of age.

If you are experiencing mental health problems, or need support, here are some places that may be able to help:

Samaritans: Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call). Or email: jo@samaritans.org

They provide confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide.

Mind Infoline: Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday). Or email: info@mind.org.uk

Mind provides confidential mental health information services. With support and understanding, Mind enables people to make informed choices. The Infoline gives information on types of mental distress, where to get help, drug treatments, alternative therapies and advocacy. Mind also has a network of nearly 200 local Mind associations providing local services.

Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line: Telephone: 0300 5000 927 (10am-2pm Monday to Friday)
Or email: info@rethink.org

They provide expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them, as well as giving help to health professionals, employers and staff. Rethink also runs Rethink services and local groups.

And you can download some posters here.