Thursday, 26 May 2022
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Thursday, 26 May 2022

Charlie Watkins Foundation: Early intervention in mental health

EARLY intervention works to prevent problems from getting worse or even occurring at all. Here, Advisory Board Member, Dr Zoe Burgess, explains why early intervention is so important, especially for young people.

We all have mental health, just like we have physical health, therefore it’s great that this is becoming a more discussed topic. But there is still plenty of room to improve, especially when it comes to the mental health of children and young people.

More than half of all mental health disorders start before the age of 14, yet, on average, local Clinical Commissioning Group areas spend less than one percent of their overall budget on children’s mental health.

At least one in six children and young people have a diagnosable mental health condition but with further support available, including early intervention, this statistic could be improved. With early intervention, an issue is identified early in life and effective support is provided to those children and young people who are at risk of developing mental health challenges.

As children get older, there are so many factors and changes that can affect their mental health. It is so important to recognise the potential stress factors and intervene early, to try and manage a healthy approach to promoting good mental health before they reach adulthood.

If you are worried about a child’s mental health, the first thing to do is to be approachable and honest while opening a line of communication with the child, whether this is through talking, drawing or play.

If there is further concern for the child’s mental health, then there is the option to recommend the child sees a GP who will be able to point you in the right direction for suitable, local support. In some circumstances, schools will have provisions, such as a school nurse or school counsellor, who can offer advice, support and low-level intervention.

The Charlie Watkins Foundation supports projects, such as Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Serves (YES) and Student Minds, which offer support to young people who are facing mental health struggles.

You can hear more about early intervention and the projects we support at the Charlie Watkins Foundation in our recent podcast.

We are so grateful for all those who help us raise funding for our vital projects which help young people across the UK who are facing serious mental health challenges.

If you would like to donate to the Charlie Watkins Foundation, please do this through our Enthuse page.

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