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Burton MP Andrew Griffiths urges young people to get help if they are struggling with mental health


Monday 6th March 2017 (Andrew Griffiths)
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths urges young people to get help if they are struggling with mental health

It is okay to get help for mental health problems says Burton MP Andrew Griffiths after it was found that nearly three in 10 young people in the West Midlands will not seek support.

The survey, which was conducted anonymously online by The Prince’s Trust, revealed the “extremely worrying” levels of stigma around mental health which showed that young people with mental health issues are not seeking support and those that do may wait a long time for help. In the West Midlands, 28 per cent of young people said they would not confide in someone if they were experiencing a mental health problem. The majority of young people in the area, 75 per cent, think there is a stigma attached to mental health issues.

The research found that two-fifths of young people, 40 per cent, in the West Midlands have experienced a mental health issue, compared to 47 per cent across the UK as a whole. Of these young people, 23 per cent said they did not seek any support and half said it took more than six months to get support.

Mr Griffiths, MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, said: “Modern life can mean an increased pressure on young people particularly because of social media. I would encourage anyone who thinks they are struggling with their mental health to speak up – it is okay. When one in four people will suffer with a mental health condition at some point in their life, the Government knows how important an issue this is. That is why they have an emphasis on parity between mental health and physical health so that everyone can get the treatment they need. The Prime Minister also announced earlier this year a focus on helping young people with their mental health, with extra funding for training for teachers.”

Across the UK, the survey found one in four young people, 24 per cent, would not confide in someone if they were experiencing a mental health problem. The research, based on a survey of 2,215 respondents aged 16 to 25, found that the majority of young people, 78 per cent, think there is a stigma attached to mental health issues. A third (32 per cent) of those young people who would keep quiet about their mental health worries think admitting to a problem could affect their job prospects, 57 per cent would not want anyone to know they were struggling and 35 per cent fear it would make them “look weak”.

The research found that almost half, 47 per cent, of young people have experienced a mental health issue. These young people are significantly less likely to feel in control of their job prospects, with 42 per cent of respondents who have experienced a mental health problem saying this, compared to 31 per cent of respondents who have not had any issues. They were also more likely to feel too tired and stressed to cope with day to day life and more likely to feel they have no control over their education, training or finances than their peers.

The findings were published in part two of The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index. The first part, published in January this year, found that the overall well-being of young people in the UK is at its lowest point on the Index since the study was first commissioned in 2009 and that one in four young people do not feel in control of their lives. In light of these findings, The Prince’s Trust is calling for people to post on Twitter the things they do, big or small, that help them to #TakeControl of their lives in a bid to inspire and empower young people. In the last year alone, the number of young people supported by The Prince’s Trust who are experiencing mental health problems has increased by 16 per cent.

Dame Martina Milburn DCVO CBE, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, said: “We know issues like depression and anxiety can have a crippling impact on a young person’s aspirations and life chances, so it’s alarming to find that so many would rather live with mental health issues than talk to anyone about them. We must all work together to instil confidence in these young people that they won’t be stigmatized, and one of the key things we can do to help improve their mental health is to help them with their education, training and job prospects. Our personal development programmes give young people the self-esteem and coping skills that set them up not just for the workplace but for life.”

(Story credited to Ms Jenny Moody of the Burton Mail.)

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