This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, providing an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health problems and to mobilize efforts to address these.
The rise in such problems over recent years has previously been labelled as a mental health crisis and one of the greatest public health challenges of our times. These problems are even more worrying when they concern the mental fitness of our younger generations, and how we are preparing them to face the growing challenges of entering adulthood.
A study conducted during lockdown estimated that rates of probable mental health disorders in children and young people increased during the pandemic, from one in nine in 2017 to one in six in 2020. Against this backdrop, our mental health services are facing overwhelming and unprecedented pressures, which existed even before the pandemic and will become further exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.
The rapidly escalating number of those seeking support, faced with inadequate services, could potentially lead to a lost generation of vulnerable children and young people who are missing out on the support they vitally need.
Against the perfect storm of a mental health crisis combined with a global pandemic, we must not lose sight of the challenges that our children and young people are facing, renewing our efforts in a ‘national crusade’ to ensure that they receive adequate mental health support.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Kenny Graham, Falkland House School
Lynn Bell, LOVE Learning
Stephen McGhee, Spark of Genius
Niall Kelly, Young Foundations