At a time when three children in every class are purported to have a diagnosable mental health condition, initiatives like Children’s Mental Health Week (February 6-12) are vital to raise awareness of support services on offer in Falkirk.
As general manager of Falkirk’s Mental Health Association (FDAMH), I know how important this is.
We are committed to supporting young people from across the Falkirk district with the tools to enable their recovery from mental health illness
We are committed to supporting young people from across the Falkirk district with the tools to enable their recovery from mental health illness, while also providing training and education on early intervention and prevention through our Training Academy schools programme.
Earlier this year we launched our Forth Valley-wide bespoke counselling service for 14 to 18-year-olds, thanks to funding from BBC Children in Need. This service runs parallel to our established counselling service for those 18 and over, and is available during and after school hours.
With a firm belief that the emotional wellbeing of our young people is as important as their physical health, our Training Academy has also been working closely with primary and high schools across the region over the past year.
Delivering tailored courses on recognising the signs and symptoms of poor or reduced mental health, FDAMH Training Academy educates pupils on a wide range of subjects in a bid to equip them with the knowledge and self-management tools they need to take care of their own mental wellbeing.
With research showing 75 per cent of people living with a mental illness began to develop symptoms before the age of 18, it’s clear that normalising the subject and removing the stigma attached to poor mental health at an early age is necessary to encourage children to be more open about symptoms and ask for help more quickly.
Across the UK, three in four young people with clinically significant symptoms of poor mental health are not in touch with mental health services.
A saddening statistic, it shows how important it is that children and adults from across Forth Valley are aware of the services on offer.
Between moving from primary to high school, the exam stress and life pressures many young people face, a large proportion of children from across Falkirk and further afield will experience mental health problems – whether that be personally or through a close friend or family member.
It’s not just something which is a problem this week, it’s all year round. And that’s why we’re always looking to build on the services we provide to help with early intervention and support for young people suffering from poor mental wellbeing.