Young unaware of mental health

Sunday 7th September, 2008

mental healthA recent study of 500 schoolchildren has found that half can’t name a single mental health conditions.

Among those surveyed, fewer than 50% felt schools provided them with adequate information about mental health with a third preferring to use the internet as a trusted source.

The poll carried out by Great Ormond Street Hospital comes as they launch their own child mental health information website.

A spokesman for the hospital said the results were “worrying and surprising”.

One in 12 children suffer mental health problems and one in 15 kids and teenagers deliberately self-harm which is currently accounting for over 25,000 hospital admissions per year to the severity of the self-inflicted injuries.

Recent studies have found that 1% of 11-16 year-olds are said to be seriously depressed. This current poll also highlighted large gaps in knowledge of mental health with boys aged 12-14 the least likely to name one mental health condition. Of those who could, substance abuse, depression and self-harm were the common ones named.

Girls aged 17-18 who found the internet to be the best source of advice only gathered their knowledge from celebrities talking about their own mental health problems.

“Our findings which show that nearly half of 12-18 year olds in the UK cannot name a single mental health condition are both worrying and surprising,” said consultant child psychiatrist at Great Ormond Dr Jon Goldin.

“This ignorance is probably one of the reasons why for too long now there has been a stigma attached to living with a mental health condition.”

Mental health can be effectively treated with a number of alternative medicine and complementary therapies.



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