1 in 5 adolescents at risk of Mental Health Illnesses

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This week 10 – 16 May will see the wider community engage with and acknowledge World Mental Health Week.

Statistics show issues around mental health are prevalent all over society. For the most part, mental health problems impact indiscriminately and affliction is across all age groups.

According to a report produced by the Children’s Society, 10% of children aged 5-16 suffer from a significant mental health illness. This is a stark and extremely concerning statistic. Worse still, 20% of those transitioning into adolescence begin to suffer from a mental health disorder. In teenage boys, suicide is the most common cause of death.

The effect of ill mental health has been exacerbated by the global pandemic and we have seen a spike in issues related to anxiety, eating disorders and psychosis. Indeed, mental health and wellbeing are at the forefront of the conversation at the moment.

Here at SJ, this has not gone unnoticed. Along with COEJ we are taking initiatives to promote mental health well being throughout our community.

We are lucky that within our community we have two organisations whose mission it is to promote mental health awareness.

Revive VSG led by Mariam Hasam and Fatema Rahemani along with Fitrus Training led by Ammar Farishta have held numerous courses this year that have benefitted our community members. Stanmore Jafferys gents and ladies have coaches who have participated in Mental Health First Aid courses and achieved qualifications. Along with this, we have 5 volunteers who have enrolled in a government funded Level 2 course in understanding youth mental health. When discussing tell-tale signs or pre-empting woes, Ammr Farishta, Founder of Fitrus, mentions, ‘it is essential for coaches to be looking out for the mental wellbeing of the young people they coach’. Revive’s Fatema Rahemani seeks to enhance our community’s competency around mental health first aid, she suggests this will help ‘individuals and organisations to equip people with the knowledge and skills necessary to spot signs and symptoms of ill mental health in fellow community members and to be confident in administering first aid and guiding them towards the help that they need’.

Our aim is to provide the best service possible, having as many volunteers with the skills needed to flag and get the ball rolling on any member who may show signs of mental ill health. The conversation on mental health should not be confined to a week in the year.