Mental illness among adolescents has become a major social problem, for which countries like the UK formulated solutions to help arrest the continuing rise.
There are several factors that can cause mental health disorders among Britons, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic is on its second wave. Yet the UK government is raising public awareness that adolescents are in a critical stage that makes them vulnerable to mental illness. Based on the most recent data collected, the UK government found out that one in every seven (7) adolescents between ages 11 to 16 year old, have been diagnosed with potential mental health disorder.
Moreover, the data also revealed that by the time those youths reached the age of 14, about 50% were confirmed as mentally unwell. Even more alarming is that 75% of those pre-diagnosed, were suffering from serious mental health problems at age 24.
Schools Play an Important Role in Detecting Mental Illness Among Adolescents
Schools in England play an important role in detecting adolescents likely suffering from mental illness. In recent years, not a few schools have bee making referrals to the the government-funded healthcare system, the National Health Services (NHS), concerning students needing mental health treatment. During the recent 3 years, the number of school referrals grew by more than ⅓,. Over a 4-year period, 55% of those that received referrals for mental health treatment came mostly from primary schools.
A more comprehensive analysis of the available data showed that in an average class comprised by an average of 30 15 year-old students, the recommendations for mental treatment arose from the following reasons:
- 1. Witnessing parents separate;
- 2. Experiencing death of a parent;
3. Bullying or being bullied
4. Proneness to inflicting self-harm
UK Government’s Introduction of the NHS Long Term Plan
In carrying out the government’s policy to undertake actions that will help improve the mental health of UK’s adolescents, a 5-year programme called the NHS Long Term Plan was established. The programme commits to develop mental health services in providing mental treatments to pre-adolescent and adolescents, starting 2020-2021.
The NHS Long Term Plan commits to the continuance of the programmes over the next 10 years, by broadening access to government-funded mental health services by way of community-based centers, including setting up support services in schools and colleges.
Other programmes include making Relationship Education a compulsory subject in state-funded primary schools. The topic advances to Relationship and Sex Education for students in the seconday level. In both programmes, pupils will also be required to learn about mental wellbeing. In September 2020, the Department of Education has made these subjects compulsory in all state-funded schools.
UK Government Also Highlights the Need to Provide a Supportive Environment for Adolescents
Still, as these programs can only help prevent the increase in mental health illness among UK’s youth, the government still highlights the importance of a supportive environment involving family and peers. Even the simple act of gift-giving can contribute to building a protective environment in combatting and mitigating the risks of mental illness among adolescents.
While choosing gifts for adolescents especially those aged 14-year old, gifting a son or a relative with something related to his interest or hobbies is a confirmation that you are aware of his current activities. Listening to what a beloved teen often talks enthusiastically about, are good enough clues for finding a gift that will show how much people around him truly cares.
To help readers find the birthday or Christmas gifts most adolescents include in their wish list, they can find different gift-buying guides, including age-specific recommendations like the one they will find at https://medium.com/@playtime/best-gift-ideas-for-14-year-old-boys-a3c580dbfddb