We know already that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and that mental distress costs the economy in England over £105 billion each year. I profoundly hope that all the recent reports and publicity translate into actions that really make a difference.
Research has emerged that suggests bullying could be more detrimental to a child's mental health than physical abuse. A US study of 1,420 children found that those who had been bullied, but not maltreated, were almost four times more likely to have mental health problems than children who were maltreated... So why do we continue to diminish the effect bullying has on children's mental health?
Moving to a new school, or up a year at an existing school - with new friends, teachers, subjects, rules and expectation - is a big deal for young people. All of us who are adults remember how daunting it was, but we sometimes take it for granted that children will be able to cope with the change. The truth is, for many young people, the changing schools or starting a new academic year is really difficult to deal with...
If we're serious about improving the mental health of young people, we need a sea change in our approach to monitoring the issue. A prevalence survey once every 14 years simply isn't good enough. It's time to recognise children's mental health as a national asset, and do everything we can to understand, strengthen and protect it.
We have to make sure that all children know that they won't be abandoned to deal with the stresses and strains of life. Wen you know someone is listening, things can and do get better. The first conversation might be the hardest, but plucking up the courage to speak to someone is the first step.
How can you tell if this is a normal part of growing up through the primary years, usual adolescent development, or an emerging mental health problem? Well at this stage, you can't, but what you can do is take the changes seriously, because if it is the start of a mental health difficulty, then the sooner your child gets help the better.
A study undertaken by anti-stigma campaign Time to Change found that 15% of young people experienced bullying as a result of their mental health problem.
Today I celebrate my third Father's Day as a father. For me it is a day not just to celebrate how fortunate I am for my young family, but to reflect on just how much I've learned about fatherhood and the issues facing fathers in all walks of life. In particular, it is a time to reflect on my responsibility to look after not just the physical health of my two children, but to treat their mental needs as just as important a priority... On this Father's Day, I encourage all fathers to take a moment to ask their children how they are doing. Take the opportunity to discuss how you are coping with life and fatherhood with your wife, partner or with your friends. And know that if your son or daughter ever needs help, they need their father's guidance and support just as much as they need their mother's.
Becoming a father is a life changing event, yet it is mothers who receive the most parental support and attention in society. This attention may be related to the still prevalent idea that babies need their mothers when small, and that fathers become important only 'later on'.
Can you imagine a child having a stomach ache for a decade? A sore throat? An ear infection? Luckily this is not something our children have to face today. Thanks to our NHS, there are GPs and medicines there to help. But for children with mental health problems, there is no such reassurance. For too many of these children, the right help simply does not exist, and even where it does, they have to wait up to ten years to get it.
Research suggests that there is an average delay of ten years between the time that young people first experience the symptoms of a mental health problem and when they receive help. Only a quarter of school-age children with a diagnosable mental health problem get any help at all, even though the majority of parents seek professional advice. And when children and families do ask for help, they are frequently confused by a maze of largely fragmented services and often face lengthy delays in getting the help they need.
Growing up in today's world can be difficult. Negative comments on your Instagram, pressure to look a certain way, worries about exams or arguments you're your friends - these can lead to difficult thoughts and feelings for anyone. For some that could develop into a mental health issue. About three people in every classroom will experience a mental health issue. That means it's very likely that someone you know, or possibly even you could be affected.
1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem at any one time, that's around 3 in every class. 40% of young people said that they had e...
Last week I had a really good chat with several other charity CEOs as we met with their Royal Highnesses, the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the launch of the Heads Together campaign at the Queen Elizabeth Park in London.
After a year of therapy, during which we saw little change in our son's behaviour, we signed him up for a football course run by the practice. Although Jacob was happy to join the other children, he never lasted more than 20 minutes before storming off in angry tears.
How can we accept a society that does not provide the support needed when traumatised children have been brave enough to come forward - as we encourage them to do. Surely it is our moral duty to offer a safety net of support and recovery services at the other side.