Children and young adults
In November 2018 the NHS released statistics on the mental health of children and young adults in the United Kingdom. It was the first time they had done this in over 12 years. How many children have mental health problems? In the newly released 2017 figures the number of 5-15 year olds affected had risen to 1 in 9 from 1 in 10 back in 2004. This change was largely driven by an increase in emotional disorders (including anxiety and depression), which for 5-15-year-olds rose from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017. Use of services Despite so many children needing support, only 1 in 4 young people with a mental disorder reported accessing specialist mental health services in the previous year. Children and young people were much more likely to have accessed informal support sources (such as online support, or from their friends and family), or other forms of professional support (e.g. teachers or primary care professionals). Growing up can be tough. Making friends and learning how to handle different types of relationships. The pressures of managing schoolwork and negotiating their way around the world which constantly seems to be changing as the mature. It can be hard for parents to understand the emotions their children are feeling and as a result family member may feel they are failing if their children aren’t coping. Emotional health is as important as their physical wellbeing, being mentally healthy enables children and young people to develop and cope with all that life throws at them. Children are mostly resilient, and most things do not lead to mental health problems but experiencing traumatic events may cause difficulty for a child or young person. There are many triggers which may cause a child to struggle. Moving home or school, a new sibling or bereavement are all examples of situations that children may find difficult to navigate. Teenagers often experience emotional turmoil as their minds and bodies develop. An important part of growing up is working out and accepting who you are. Some young people find it hard to make this transition to adulthood and may experiment with alcohol, drugs or other substances that can affect mental health. These are some of the mental health problems that can affect children and young people. Depression affects more children and young people today than in the last few decades, but it is still more common in adults. Teenagers are more likely to experience depression than young children. Self-harm is a very common problem among young people. Some people find it helps them manage intense emotional pain if they harm themselves, through cutting or burning, for example. They may not wish to take their own life. Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) can cause young people to become extremely worried. Very young children or children starting or moving school may have separation anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can follow physical or sexual abuse, witnessing something extremely frightening of traumatising, being the victim of violence or severe bullying or surviving a disaster. Children who are consistently overactive ('hyperactive'), behave impulsively and have difficulty paying attention may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many more boys than girls are affected, but the cause of ADHD aren't fully understood. Eating disorders usually start in the teenage years and are more common in girls than boys. The number of young people who develop an eating disorder is small, but eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can have serious consequences for their physical health and development. Parental help With warm, open relationship with their parents, children will usually feel able to tell them if they are troubled. One of the most important ways parents can help is to listen to them and take their feelings seriously. They may want a hug; they may want you to help them change something or they may want practical help. Children and young people’s negative feelings usually pass. However, it’s a good idea to get help if your child is distressed for a long time, if their negative feelings are stopping them from getting on with their lives, if their distress is disrupting family life or if they are repeatedly behaving in ways you would not expect at their age. Solution focused hypnotherapy is a safe and gentle therapy that can help children to move forward in a positive way. Using techniques that help children to focus on the positive aspects of their lives and then helping these positive and happy thoughts continue using hypnotherapy trance techniques. I have been so lucky to work with some amazing children and young people. Children are a challenge and finding it hard to sit still for any great length of time is not a problem. During therapy I have had children dangle upside down, giggle, peek from behind a pillow but none of these things have prevented us from obtaining the results. To be able to give a child peace of mind, happiness, joy and help them to deal with situations that they may not be finding easy is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Initial consultations are free, and I deal with all manner of issues.