7 September is Youth Mental Health Day (YMHD). It’s an awareness day founded by the leading young person’s mental health charity stem4. stem4 is a UK charity that promotes positive mental health in teenagers. They work with individuals, their families and carers, education professionals, as well as school nurses and GPs through the provision of mental health education, resilience strategies and early intervention. This is primarily done digitally through their education programme, pioneering mental health apps, clinically-informed website and mental health conferences.
YMHD encourages understanding and awareness of mental health in young people with a view to enabling them to live happy and healthy lives. Each year, the day aims to get young people, and those who care for and support them, talking about how to improve mental health.
This is all the more important with the covid-19 pandemic disrupting the lives of young people more than you might realise. YMHD 2021 focuses on how young people can #StrideForward with their mental health.
Missed classes, lack of social interaction, missing friends, cancelled exams and university lockdowns – the last 18 months have been rough. This time has seen many decisions made on behalf of young people and without their input. But as Vikram Patel (Indian psychiatrist and researcher) said, “There is no health without mental health; mental health is too important to be left to the professionals alone, and mental health is everyone’s business”.
Looking to place young people’s voices at the forefront of the conversation once more, YMHD 2021 invites young people across the country to reflect on how the last year has impacted their lives and share how they will #StrideForward and move towards positive mental health.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, one in six young people aged 5-16-year olds had a mental health disorder. The crisis will no doubt have worsened the situation. These disorders include anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders and addictions. Mental health can often be overlooked at the symptoms are not as visual as other health concerns. As Kate Middleton (member of the British Royal Family) said, “A child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health and deserves the same quality of support”.
Youth Mental Health Day seeks to help by engaging young people in discussions and activities about how to improve their mental health. YMHD looks to go beyond awareness and breaking the stigma surrounding mental health into tackling the heart of the issue.
As a Hypnotherapist, I do not work with people under the age of 18. But if you are worried about someone who is, stem4 is a good place to start to look for the help and support you need.