Thoughts from RBAir’s Clinical Lead, Lucy DeHavas, on World Mental Health Day
What are mental health and wellbeing?
Mental Health is defined as our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing, encompassing how we think, feel and act. The holistic wellbeing of an individual in these three areas is also inter-dependent upon the wider context of family, community and society.
Wellbeing is also supported by what is known as “protective factors”: conditions or attributes in individuals, families and communities, which increase our overall well-being and mitigate the risks.
This means that an individual’s mental health and wellbeing is not dependent on just that one person, but the combination of every part of that person’s life. At Red Balloon, our student’s mental health and wellbeing is therefore considered as “Everybody’s Business”.
How can we support the young people in our lives?
Here are some of the ways young people have told us they would like us to help support their mental health:
- To be listened to and treated with respect.
- To see the same professionals (such as therapists or mentors) consistently and to form trusting relationships with them.
- To have help with building strong caring relationships with their family and peers and help with improving their self esteem
- To receive an individualised proactive approach to well-being that works with thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
- To have quicker access to psychological help from external services.
At Red Balloon we have a joint focus on education, wellbeing and social re-engagement – “three arms around the young person”. All parts of the Red Balloon provision are delivered by staff who keep these five ways of helping identified above (as outlined by our students) at the fore of all they do.
Just like safeguarding, wellbeing must be everybody’s business.
Mental Health for All
This year’s theme for mental health day is “mental health for all” which aims to recognise that we all need support at one time or another in our lives, and getting the right support is important.
Just like physical health, we all have mental health too – sometimes our mental health is good, and sometimes it’s not. When it’s not, it’s important that we feel able to ask for help. If you broke a leg, you wouldn’t try to set the bone and put a plaster cast on, so why should you expect to manage a mental health issue by yourself?
You might not know exactly what’s wrong, but if you know you’re not feeling yourself, and you are struggling with things you normally enjoy, then this could be a sign you need a little help.
It can seem difficult to ask for help, but just telling someone about how you feel can be incredibly helpful. You won’t always need medical intervention (although sometimes that may be the best approach), sometimes small changes and support can be all you need to get you through a tough patch and feeling more like yourself again.
With any illness getting the right help early on can make a big difference in how easy it is to get back to being healthy, and it’s no different for mental health. So if you need a little help or support, or things aren’t feeling quite right, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Things can get better, and talking about it is the first step to feeling good again.
Whoever we are, and wherever we are in life, mental health is something that affects us all, and we all deserve to have support when we need it.
Advice lines and further support
If you need support or advice on mental health, for yourself or others, there are a number of advice lines you can call and apps and websites you can visit for help. Remember, you do not have to face things alone.
Call for free 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri 9:30 – 16:00).
Available in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Children under 19 can confidentially call, email, or chat online about any problem big or small
Freephone 24h helpline: 0800 1111
Sign up for a childline account on the website to message a counsellor anytime
A confidential helpline, email, webchat and telephone counselling service for young people under 25.
Freephone: 0808 808 4994 (daily 13:00-23:00)
Lists of local services for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Offers information about advice and counselling services in the UK for young people aged 12-25 years
MindEd for families is a website where you can hear about other parents’ experiences and find clear, helpful guidance on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing