Creative Futures

Mental Health Campaigns towards the Children Demographic

During my independent research into mental health campaigning, I discovered some very interesting  (and repetitive) patterns to what was the focal element in almost every article or piece of information that I reviewed; adults.

 

http://www.nht.nhs.uk/main.cfm?type=NI&objectid=3530

In the link included above, it directs to an NHS article discussing the “Time to Change” mental health campaign. They provide statistics about how one in four people experience mental health problems, and for recommendations to cope with these mental health problems the campaign encourages the person to reach out and talk to friends and family to talk about their challenges and difficulties. The focus of the campaign is to remove the stigma and discrimination surrounding those who suffer from mental health issues.

But what about young people dealing with the same conditions?

Overwhelmingly, there is very little public support provided by the National Health Service to assist young people with mental health difficulties, and this was evidently clear as I gathered information for this article.

In fact, most campaigns and information that specifically targeted the younger age demographic was primarily driven by independent organisations, such as Place2Be.

https://www.place2be.org.uk/

This organisation is a national charity that focuses on bringing support to students within educational facilities. They have identified that by not providing early mental health support to children, they are likely to continue suffering from issues upon reaching adulthood, or alarmingly, are at a higher risk of committing suicide than those without mental health conditions.

 

http://childpsychotherapy.org.uk/news/uks-first-child-mental-health-week-launch

However, within the past two years, there has been significant process made in the public campaigning for mental health awareness in children and teenagers. The first mental health awareness week specifically dedicated towards children occurred in 2015, with the full support from the Dutchess of Cambridge. Whilst progress has

Whilst there is some progress being made within the United Kingdom to bring awareness to children who are suffering from mental health conditions, it is apparent that there is still a very significant lack of information targetted towards the public.

From my own research, I can conclude that the primary focus of the mental health campaigns primary target is towards the adult demographic – people that are likely to be suffering from conditions that have manifested from events occurred during early years, or within their childhood.

The organisations have identified that there is a distinctive pattern between early childhood intervention and the recovery from mental health conditions, yet very little awareness or progress appears to be being made on that front. Rather than directing focus towards improving these early primitive measures, organisations appear determined to continue deterring from the suffering of the child, in order to assist the adult. This dismissive attitude will only continue to cause greater distress amongst the young community as they continue to cope with their struggles without support – which will continue to be assessable to the older demographic.

After identifying such a large gap in the promotional and advertising area of mental health awareness for the young demographic, I am inspired to continue pushing the project forward with the intention of helping those who have been let down by larger government organisations. Personally, I would not have been able to predict the lack of information and publicity available for children and teenagers, as my perception of mental health awareness had been influenced by how

Personally, I would not have been able to predict the lack of information and publicity available for children and teenagers, as my perception of mental health awareness had been influenced by how prominently I have seen material – either as advertisements on television, leaflets within the doctors waiting room, and as posters featured on public transport. It was only through the investigation that I have realised how biased and targetted that promotion has been towards one demographic, and pointedly ignoring those that are outside of their range. I hope that by using the medium that is available to us – animation – that we may be able to address this matter and rectify the problem in some form. If we can make a difference to one person than the effort will be entirely worth it.

Reference:

Childpsychotherapy.org.uk. (n.d.). UK’s first Child Mental Health Week launch | Association of Child Psychotherapists. [online] Available at: http://childpsychotherapy.org.uk/news/uks-first-child-mental-health-week-launch [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].

ltd, V. (2016). News: Time to Change – national mental health campaign launched – Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. [online] Nht.nhs.uk. Available at: http://www.nht.nhs.uk/main.cfm?type=NI&objectid=3530 [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].

Place2Be. (n.d.). Making a Lifetime of Difference to Children in Schools. [online] Available at: https://www.place2be.org.uk/ [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].

place2be, (2015). HRH The Duchess of Cambridge supports UK’s first Children’s Mental Health Week. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWYV3zPXx64 [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].

*Note: Additional articles are linked below the cut.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/improving-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-care

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/about-us/what-are-we-doing/children-and-young-people

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