YOUNG VOICES

Students Are Missing Out On Their Education Due To Mental Health Stigma

02/09/2014 15:49 BST | Updated 02/09/2014 15:59 BST
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More than three quarters of young people with mental heath problems have missed out on their education, with many saying they have been bullied as a result of their issues.

One in four students said the reason they did not go into school, college or university was because they were worried what other people say, while 15% said they were bullied.

Nearly a third of the 3,000 young people questioned by Time to Change had been on the receiving end of derogatory language with respondents citing, “crazy” “mental” and “attention seeking” as some of the most common terms used.

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Half of those questioned (48%) chose not to tell anyone at school or college about their mental health problems with many pretending they had physical health conditions as the reason for being absent.

More than one in 10 young people with mental health problems drop out of education full stop.

Jenny Taylor, Head of the Children and Young People’s Programme at Time to Change said: "A young person would go into a classroom and tell their friends and teachers if they had broken their leg, but when it comes to mental health problems, they’re silenced by the stigma and worried they may be bullied as a result of talking about their mental health problems.

"Yet one in ten young people will experience a mental health problem, that’s around three in every classroom, so we need to change this culture and make it more acceptable to talk openly about mental health problems before students miss out on their education."

Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support added, "I want to build a fairer society. This means better mental health care for children and young people without the barrier of stigma. It is heart breaking that youngsters fear they will face discrimination from their peers and I’m pleased that Time to Change is working with schools to address this.

"We’re already working with the Department for Education to help teachers and others in contact with children to spot the signs of mental health problems, and I’ve recently launched a Taskforce to look at how we can make sure every child with mental health problems gets the support they need."

Time to Change is encouraging every secondary school in England to sign up to four weeks of activity this November which involves brief, simple sessions in assembly or form time to start the conversation about mental health.

Useful websites and helplines:

Samaritans, open 24 hours a day, on 08457 90 90 90

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393

Students Against Depression, a website by students, for students.

HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41

Student Minds To join the community or launch a student group contact the charity on hello@studentminds.org.uk