On Wednesday 11th January we organised and hosted an event to raise awareness of mental health, emotional well-being and resilience in young people. The evening saw 25 agencies come together to highlight the support available for young people and their families across a range of areas surrounding emotional health and well-being.
The invitation was extended to you, our parents, but also to the parents of children from primary and secondary schools and anyone working with young people across South Devon and, as a result, in excess of 200 people attended the event.
The timing of the event couldn’t be more appropriate following the recent announcement by Theresa May regarding plans to “transform” attitudes to mental health, with a focus on children and young people and that teachers were to receive additional training on mental health issues.
One in four people has a mental disorder at some point in their life, with an annual cost of £105bn.
Figures show young people are affected disproportionately with over half of mental health problems starting by the age of 14 and 75% by 18.
Statistically, one in ten children and young people aged between five and 16 have been reported as having a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder. Four per cent had an emotional disorder (anxiety or depression), 6 per cent had a conduct disorder. [Source: http://www.nhsconfed.org/]
Alarmingly, however, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
The prime minister said mental health had been “dangerously disregarded” as secondary to physical health and changing that would go “right to the heart of our humanity”.
Those who attended the evening were given the opportunity to listen to a number of students who recalled their experiences of dealing with mental health issues. The students bravely shared their personal stories with incredible eloquence and provided a unique insight into an area that has traditionally been filled with taboo and stigma. After listening to the stories of the students, people were then able to meet the agency staff who were providing information on what support is available to young people and their families. This was followed by key-note speeches from Proud2Be co-founder Jon Price giving advice to families surrounding LGBTQ+ issues. Craig Brennan-Osment from South West Family Values provided practical advice on positive parenting and Dr Helen Smith, Medical Director for Devon Partnership NHS Trust gave statistics and pragmatic guidance on resilience amongst adolescence. The evening was closed by a presentation from Dr Jo Black, Perinatal Consultant Psychiatrist, detailing the effects parental mental health has on children and young people.
The evening was incredibly well received. One parent described the evening as “a truly inspirational and dynamic evening” whilst another said “It was so useful to find all the helpful agencies under one roof and the key note speakers were really interesting”.
Jude Pinder, Advanced Public Health Practitioner, attended the event and said “Without those conversations it would be impossible to drive change and improve outcomes for children, young people, families and communities. I particularly felt warmed by the strong message delivered by teacher and organiser of the event, Rhys Davies about how we will achieve more by working together.”
Rhys Davies, Sharon Walker and Valerie Bailey, who organised and coordinated the event are looking forward to putting together future events with the aim of providing more holistic practical support for all those involved in supporting young people. Valerie Bailey is currently undertaking a research project to look into areas where further support can be directed.
The agencies in attendance across the night were :
- Alcohol Education Trust
- B&A Psychologists
- School Counsellors from Torquay Boys` and Girls’ Grammar Schools
- Devon & Cornwall Police
- Devon Partnership NHS Trust
- Devon Rape Crisis
- Educational Psychologist Paul Williams
- Intercom Trust
- Author OF ‘Feeling lost and finding your way’ Andy Dunn
- Intercom Trust
- Paediatric Dietician
- School Nurse Team
- South West Family Values
- Torbay Online Safety Group
- Torbay Sexual Health Service
- Wollen Michelmore Solicitors
- Young Devon and the TBGS research project
For more information on these organisations, visit the school website