Quick Wins for Mental Health and Wellbeing in UK Children and Young Adults

Kerry Hearsey
December 29, 2023
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Quick Wins for Mental Health and Wellbeing in UK Children and Young Adults

Mental health and wellbeing are essential aspects of a child's development, influencing their overall quality of life and future success. In the United Kingdom, like many other countries, children and young adults face increasing challenges to their mental health. The good news is that there are quick wins available to support and nurture their mental wellbeing. In this blog, we'll explore some practical strategies and initiatives aimed at improving the mental health of children and young adults in the UK.

1. Encourage Physical Activity

Physical activity has a profound impact on mental health. It helps release endorphins, reduces stress, and improves mood. Sadly, the UK has been grappling with high levels of childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Encouraging children and young adults to engage in regular physical activity, whether through sports, dancing, or simply playing outdoors, can significantly enhance their mental wellbeing.

2. Promote Mindfulness and Meditation

Teaching mindfulness and meditation techniques to children can help them manage stress and anxiety. These practices promote self-awareness and emotional regulation, essential skills for maintaining good mental health. Many schools in the UK are now incorporating mindfulness into their curriculum, acknowledging its potential benefits.

3. Foster Strong Social Connections

Healthy relationships are a cornerstone of good mental health. Encourage children and young adults to build and maintain positive social connections with friends, family members, and mentors. Loneliness and social isolation can have adverse effects on mental health, so it's crucial to ensure they have a strong support system.

4. Reduce Screen Time

Excessive screen time, particularly on smartphones and computers, has been linked to increased rates of depression and anxiety among young people. Establishing screen time limits and promoting offline activities can help improve mental wellbeing. The UK government's "Online Safety Bill" aims to protect young people online and reduce the potential harm from digital platforms.

5. Improve Access to Mental Health Support

Access to mental health services and support should be readily available to children and young adults in the UK. Schools and healthcare systems should prioritize early intervention and provide resources for those in need. Initiatives like the "Every Mind Matters" campaign aim to raise awareness and provide practical advice on maintaining mental health.

6. Promote Healthy Eating Habits

Nutrition plays a significant role in mental health. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can positively impact mood and cognitive function. Teaching children and young adults about the importance of a balanced diet can set them on the path to better mental wellbeing.

7. Educate About Mental Health

Promoting mental health literacy is essential for children and young adults. It helps reduce stigma and encourages open conversations about mental health issues. Schools can include mental health education in their curriculum, and community programs can offer workshops to enhance understanding and empathy.

The mental health of children and young adults in the UK is a critical concern that requires urgent attention. By implementing these quick wins—encouraging physical activity, promoting mindfulness, fostering strong social connections, reducing screen time, improving access to mental health support, promoting healthy eating habits, and educating about mental health—we can create a more supportive environment for our youth.

Remember that early intervention and support can make a significant difference in a young person's life. By investing in their mental health, we are investing in a brighter future for the UK. Let's work together to ensure that every child and young adult has the opportunity to thrive mentally and emotionally.


1. NHS Digital. (2021). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020. [https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england/2020/2020]

2. The Mental Health Foundation. (2021). Mental Health Statistics: Children and Young People. [https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-children-and-young-people]

3. Public Health England. (2019). Health matters: preventing ill health from alcohol and tobacco use. [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-preventing-ill-health-from-alcohol-and-tobacco-use/health-matters-preventing-ill-health-from-alcohol-and-tobacco-use]

4. UK Government. (2021). Online Safety Bill. [https://www.gov.uk/government/bills/online-safety-bill]

5. Public Health England. (2020). Every Mind Matters. [https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/]

6. Mental Health Foundation. (2021). Food and Mood. [https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/f/food-and-mood]

7. YoungMinds. (2021). Mental Health Statistics: Children and Young People. [https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/children-and-young-people-mental-health-in-numbers/]

Kerry Hearsey
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