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Young people's views on mental health gathered in survey

11 February 2022

Two young people laughing and talking

A recent survey undertaken by the Northamptonshire “Talk Out Loud Programme”, completed by over 1,000 young people in Northamptonshire, has identified that 50% of young people believe society doesn’t understand their mental health needs.

Respondents felt that generational differences played a large part in this, with many feeling that their mental health needs were not understood or taken seriously.

Over 30% of respondents said they were less happy than they were last year, citing school stresses and lockdown as the biggest contributing pressures. The survey also identified that 84% of young people have experienced stress, 63% have experienced depression and 68% have experienced anxiety.

To help young people start a conversation about mental health and wellbeing, a countywide event is taking place on Friday 11 February 2022.

As part of the Public Health Northamptonshire “Talk out Loud Programme”, Northamptonshire schools will be taking part in Mental Health Awareness Day, that this year has the theme of ‘It's the inside that matters’.

Mental Health Awareness Day is an annual event, which is very firmly embedded in the school calendar. Our survey has identified that a high percentage of young people have mental health needs, that in many cases they do not feel are understood.

Our theme this year has been designed to help young people, and the people in their lives understand that it’s the inside that matters. Unlike physical health, you cannot always see when someone’s mental health needs help or support. Because sometimes, how we look and how we present ourselves to the outside world is not really how we are feeling. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

All schools have been provided with resources to use on Mental Health Awareness Day – including wristbands for every young person in Northamptonshire with the slogan “Talk out loud about mental health”. Schools will also be encouraging students to write down how they are feeling and post in a ‘feelings box’, that will be gathered together to create county-wide feelings boxes.

An installation, to get across the message that it’s the inside that matters, will be unveiled later on this year.
Programme Manager Tessa Parkinson
Children across Northamptonshire have dealt with a series of changes for nearly two years. To their education, to their leisure time, to their ability to socialise with their peers or see extended family. Whilst many have shown amazing resilience, others, as shown by the young people's responses to this survey, have understandably struggled. 

Poor mental health affects not only our youngsters social well being, but can also impact on their physical health which is why Public Health Northamptonshire is committed to a range of sources of help for young people. Not only in schools through the Talk Out Loud programme, but also through access to additional support services, including counselling, through the Reach Partnership

So I’m asking Northamptonshire adults to use the theme of ‘It's the inside that matters’ to start a conversation with youngsters about mental health. Every young person across the county should have the opportunity to achieve good mental health and wellbeing. Let’s try to address the feeling that their mental health needs aren’t understood or taken seriously.  

This Northamptonshire Mental Health Day we can make sure that they know that help is there and they needn't struggle alone.
Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health Northamptonshire
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