The above feature in The Guardian by Young Minds shows 13,567 under 18s accessed A&E departments in England alone over the previous year.
This suggests a number of things to me:
Stigma – the core reason people didn’t reach out for help when they needed it seems to be rescinding. People – especially young people see mental health on a par with physical health. This is surely a good thing as they are no longer suffering alone in silence.
England only – the 13,000+ quoted by Young Minds of under 18s is for England only. I find this startling thinking of what the overall figures would be for the entire Union of Britain.
Right place? – is a busy, noisy A&E environment the right place for someone with mental health issues? Especially if they experience an average of four hour wait time as the feature states.
Overall, I believe the rising stats show people who are suffering are no longer holding back on seeking help due to stigma. This shows how far we have come as part of humanity is busting the myths and stigma surrounding mental health.
There are a growing number of dedicated charities with bespoke experience in supporting all ages, backgrounds and cultures. Some have 24/7 services including text lines or phone lines. I think one of the key missing pieces of information is a knowledge of the applicable charities available. These should be advertised everywhere – schools, colleges, doctors, dentists, opticians, supermarkets, job centre plus offices absolutely everywhere people go. Giving people a menu of options enables them to select what might be the most suitable for them and reduce the pressure on A&E hospital services.
Some charities I know that might help you/those you know are below. Why not keep a few in your mobile ? – you never know when you might need them:
Give Us a Shout – 24/7 Crisis Text time – text Shout to 85258
Young Minds – website with signposting resources for young people and their parents – http://www.youngminds.org
Place 2 Be – website – resources for school children – http://www.place2be.org.uk
Campaign Against Living Miserably – web chat and helpline manned 5pm-midnight http://www.thecalmzone.net