The promotion of positive mental health amongst our young people is very important and is also an integral part of promoting mental health in the overall population.
The ‘My World’ National Survey of Youth Mental Health found that almost one in three young people had at some time experienced mental health difficulties (Headstrong and UCD School of Psychology, 2012). The Study found that these difficulties generally emerged in early adolescence and peaked in the late teens and early twenties. On a positive note, the Study found that the development of self-esteem and good coping strategies are strong protective factors for mental health during this key transitional period into adulthood.
Promoting mental, emotional and social wellbeing can enable young people to fulfill their potential and cope with the challenges they face during this key developmental period and into the future. However, this requires action and collaboration across a variety of sectors including the education, health and community sectors. There is strong evidence that mental health promotion programmes in schools, when implemented effectively, can produce long-term emotional, social and academic benefits for young people (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2009; Barry et al, 2009). Parents also are key players in the promotion of positive mental health and in the recognition of when mental health difficulties may arise.
Research suggests that 75% of people suffering from an adult-type psychiatric disorder have experienced its onset by 24 yrs of age with the onset of most of these disorders, i.e. mood, psychotic, personality, eating and substances disorders, occurring from early teens to mid-20’s.
During Laois CONNECTS Mental Health Awareness Week, the Family Resource Centre in Portlaoise in conjunction with the HSE, will offer opportunities to Parents/Guardians/ Teachers/Sports Coaches etc. to attend two talks which may provide awareness and information on youth mental health and wellbeing. All are welcome to attend.
On Tuesday 11th October from 10.30am – 12 noon, an awareness session on ‘Understanding Deliberate Self-Harm Behaviour’ will be held. This programme, which will be delivered by Josephine Rigney, HSE Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention Laois/Offaly, aims to give knowledge and understanding of self-harm. Attitudes to self-harm behaviour will be explored and information on helpful responses and effective treatments are given.
On Thursday 13th October from 10.30am – 12noon, an awareness session ‘Your Teenager’s Mental Health’ will be given. This session, which will be delivered by Anthony O’Prey, HSE Mental Health Promotion Officer, will highlight the early warning signs for Mental Health difficulties in young people and the supportive steps that can be taken. Included is a review of the Primary Services available to Parents/Guardians and Young People and information on other community supports.