Rethinking Mental Health

Kerry Hearsey
December 29, 2023
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Rethinking Mental Health

Rethinking Mental Health and Wellbeing for Children and Young Adults in the UK

Mental health and wellbeing among children and young adults in the United Kingdom have emerged as pressing concerns in recent years. In a rapidly changing society with the advent of digital technologies, academic pressures, and social challenges, it is imperative to rethink our approach to mental health to ensure the younger generation's emotional and psychological wellbeing.

1. The Urgent Need for Early Intervention

In the UK, mental health issues among children and young adults have been on the rise. According to a report by the Mental Health Foundation, approximately 1 in 10 children and young people in the UK suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder (Mental Health Foundation, 2020). Early intervention is crucial, as nearly 75% of mental health issues begin before the age of 18 (NHS England, 2021). To address this, the UK government has pledged to invest more in children and young people's mental health services (UK Government, 2021).

2. Integration of Mental Health into Education

The UK education system plays a pivotal role in the lives of children and young adults. It is essential to adopt a holistic approach to education that recognizes the importance of mental and emotional wellbeing alongside academic success. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK recommends incorporating mental health education into the curriculum to support students' emotional development (NICE, 2020). This move aligns with research showing that social-emotional learning programs in schools can lead to improved mental health outcomes (Durlak et al., 2011).

3. Addressing the Stigma

In the UK, stigma and discrimination associated with mental health issues still exist, which can deter young individuals from seeking help. The "Time to Change" campaign, launched by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, aims to challenge and change negative attitudes towards mental health (Time to Change, n.d.). Initiatives like this can contribute significantly to reducing stigma and encouraging open conversations about mental health.

4. Accessible Mental Health Services

Accessibility to mental health services is a critical aspect of rethinking mental health for children and young adults in the UK. According to the Children's Commissioner for England, there are disparities in access to mental health services, with many young people facing long waiting times (Children's Commissioner for England, 2021). Reducing these waiting times and expanding the availability of services, especially in schools, is vital to ensure timely support.

5. Promoting Digital Wellbeing

The rise of digital technology has brought both opportunities and challenges to the mental health of young people in the UK. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has highlighted the impact of social media on mental wellbeing and proposed measures to promote healthy online behaviors (RSPH, 2019). Additionally, the UK government has introduced guidelines on screen time and online safety to protect children's mental health (UK Government, 2021).

Rethinking mental health and wellbeing for children and young adults in the UK is a multifaceted endeavour that requires collaborative efforts from government bodies, educational institutions, healthcare providers, and the wider society. By prioritising early intervention, integrating mental health into education, addressing stigma, ensuring accessibility to mental health services, and promoting digital wellbeing, we can create an environment where young individuals in the UK can navigate the challenges of the modern world while maintaining their emotional and psychological health. Together, we can work towards a brighter future where mental health is a priority for all.


1. Mental Health Foundation. (2020). Children and young people.

2. NHS England. (2021). Children and young people's mental health.

3. UK Government. (2021). Government sets out ambition for children's mental health.

4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). (2020). Social and emotional wellbeing in primary education.

5. Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432.

6. Time to Change. (n.d.). About Time to Change.

7. Children's Commissioner for England. (2021). Access to children and young people's mental health services.

Kerry Hearsey
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