The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) has released a new report on youth mental health. Our generation’s epidemic:
Young people’s awareness and experience of mental health information, support, and services is the largest piece of research on young people’s mental health in Scotland.
The SYP surveyed 1453 people aged 12-25 with responses from all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities. The survey found that 1 in 4 young people considered themselves to have experienced mental health difficulties yet 70% of those people didn’t know where to access support.
Of those surveyed, 47% were in school, college or university. And while nearly half of those respondents would speak to a friend or relative about their mental health – just 11% would speak to a lecturer.
The comments included in the survey highlighted that while young people seemed to be aware that mental health is something affecting most people they know- the language used to discuss it often very negative- with words such as “condition”, “issue” and “problems”. The stigma surrounding mental health is something respondents marked as a barrier to accessing support for their mental health.
Positive actions in the workplace, university, school and college included workshops on mental health, counselling sessions and general mental health information.
We recognise that accessing support and working out which kind of support will work best for you as an individual can often be challenging. We have listed some helpful apps, websites and online tools on our website– as well as links to accessing counselling available from the NHS, privately and through universities and colleges across Scotland. You can find this here.
Some clear recommendations were voiced by those completing the survey- that young people should be aware of self-help strategies and services should be clearly signposted to. They also suggested staff (youth workers, teachers, lecturers) should receive mental health training in addition to equalities training.
The research was part of the SYP‘s current youth mental health campaign, Speak Your Mind. The campaign objectives include increasing awareness of mental health issues, tackle stigma and advocate for high quality support for young people across Scotland.
Follow @OfficialSYP on Twitter, and use #SYPSpeakYourMind to keep up to date with all the campaign discussions.
You can find out more about the mental health awareness training offered by NUS through our Student Mental Health Agreements and Healthy Body Healthy Awards. You can also download our Self-Management resources or Ending Stigma and Discrimination materials on our resources page.
Read the full report here.