New booklet to open young minds
Posted Friday 31 August 2007
- 1 in 10 5 to 15 year olds in Britain have a mental health problem
- 1 in 5 experience significant emotional distress
- Psychosis is 4 times more common than diabetes in the young
Leading mental health charity Mind has published a new booklet for young people and those who work with them to help them recognise the signs of severe mental distress. Last month's shocking new figures revealed that more children are being prescribed medication for mental health problems than ever before (1), meaning that pupils will be returning to school this week amid mounting concern that mental distress is a real and growing problem for adolescents.
Mind's new booklet My Name is Pete presents young people with accessible information about psychosis and its symptoms and how to manage them should they arise. It has been produced in a comic book style and has been narrated by a young person who is experiencing mental distress.
My Name Is Pete designer Emily Wilcox from Taunton and West Somerset Mind was inspired to produce the booklet after working in schools with both young people experiencing distress and their teachers. Emily said:
"Working as a mentor in schools has shown me that there is a need to educate young people about mental health issues. When you start talking about psychosis to young people, they can have a lot of preconceptions about what it means, and pressure from peers can make it difficult for young people to come forward about their problems. There's a lack of easily accessible information on the subject. The booklet is designed so that even those who shy away from reading can pick it up and read it, and start thinking about their well-being."
Psychosis is often triggered by stress and life events, and academic pressure, relationship problems and concerns about the future mean that growing up can be a difficult time for many adolescents. My Name is Pete gives young people a way of making sense of their feelings, and encourages them to come forward and seek support when they need it.
Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
"It can be difficult for parents, teachers and healthcare professionals to know whether young people are experiencing the usual problems associated with growing up, or whether their distress is cause for concern. My Name is Pete allows those who work with young people to recognise the symptoms of more serious distress so that they can offer them advice on how to access support."
(1) 631,000 prescriptions were written for mental health diagnoses for the under-16s in 2006/2007, compared to 146,000 in the mid 1990s. The figures were obtained by David Laws, Liberal Democrat Shadow Children's Secretary.