New website aims to help adults recognise signs of mental health issues

March 26, 2014
New website aims to help adults recognise signs of mental health issues

(Medical Xpress)—A psychologist from the University of Reading has played a pivotal role in a project which aims to help adults become more aware of mental health issues in young children.

Professor Shirley Reynolds, Director of the University of Reading's Charlie Waller Institute for Evidence-Based Psychological Treatment, was a clinical lead on MindEd. Launched today, this new web resource will provide adults with the knowledge and skills to help address a lack of awareness.

A new survey has found that more than a third of adults are unsure of signs of depression in children, and over half fear approaching the subject in case they are mistaken.

MindEd, funded by the Department of Health, contains bite-sized e-learning packages individually tailored to equip professionals and volunteers working with children and young people with the skills to identify children with a mental health condition.

As well as tackling stigma and giving adults access to information anytime and in any place, it aims to speed up the time it takes to identify child and put them on the path to the most appropriate treatment.

Professor Reynolds said: "As adults we almost all come in contact with children and young people in our everyday lives. Teachers, nurses, doctors, police, social workers and sports coaches, as well as parents and other , all play an important role in raising healthy and happy children. Mental are incredibly common before the age of 18 but most of us don't recognise these and, if we do, don't know what we can do to help.

"The MindEd website is free and available for everyone, including parents and family members. It includes information and education, written by experts, in straightforward and clear language, aimed to make us all feel more confident to help children and young people."

Commissioned by group of national organisations specialising in child and adolescent mental health, the survey of 2,105 UK adults found that 38% didn't know what signs and symptoms they needed to look out for, and if they did, 51% said they were worried about raising the issue for fear of being mistaken.

With over 850,000 children in the UK diagnosed with a mental health problem, the group warns that without increased education or awareness to help adults identify and understand children and young people with , thousands are at increased risk of alcohol and drug misuse, self-harm, neglect and in extreme cases, suicide.

Dr Raphael Kelvin, Child Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead for the MindEd programme, said: "Half of all diagnosable mental health conditions start before the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 21, so identifying children at the earliest opportunity is crucial in setting them on the best path in life.

"Investing in early intervention is crucial - not doing so comes at a high price for those battling a mental health condition, and also costs the economy vast sums of money in lost education, training, jobs, and often, through crime.

"It's clear from these results that there's still stigma attached to mental health with 51% of adult admitting fear of approaching the issue. It's also clear that many adults are not confident in being able to spot the signs of ill mental health in children and many are turning to other - family, friends and teachers - for help and advice.

"So it's vital that people know what to look out for so they can address the issue before it worsens and that's where MindEd can help."

Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb, said: "Spotting the signs of mental health problems early in children and is essential to prevent problems from escalating and continuing into adulthood. That's why we have invested £3 million in MindEd - so that people working with , from teachers to dinner ladies and sports coaches to Scouts leaders, can recognise when a child needs help and make sure they get it."

Explore further: Mental health problems mistaken for physical illness in children

Related Stories

Mental health problems mistaken for physical illness in children

February 28, 2014
Many children are admitted to general acute wards with mental health problems mistaken for physical disease.

How accurate is child mental health screening at four years?

February 11, 2014
Research from the University of Adelaide shows that although mental health screening of children at ages 4-5 can help to predict mental health problems in future years, only a quarter of children can be accurately identified ...

Stigma 'key deterrent' in accessing mental health care

February 25, 2014
Mental health stigma is a key factor preventing people from accessing the care they need, according to new research from King's College London.

Survey finds people more willing to disclose experience of mental health problems

March 7, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A new survey has found that people are more willing to disclose their experience of having a mental health problem and receiving treatment.

Study identifies most common, costly reasons for mental health hospitalizations for kids

March 17, 2014
Nearly one in 10 children are hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis led by UCSF Benioff ...

Geographic moves take a toll on kids' mental health

March 21, 2014
Children in military families who relocate have an increased odds of suffering mental health problems, finds a large new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Recommended for you

Before assigning responsibility, our minds simulate alternative outcomes, study shows

October 17, 2017
How do people assign a cause to events they witness? Some philosophers have suggested that people determine responsibility for a particular outcome by imagining what would have happened if a suspected cause had not intervened.

Schizophrenia disrupts the brain's entire communication system, researchers say

October 17, 2017
Some 40 years since CT scans first revealed abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients, international scientists say the disorder is a systemic disruption to the brain's entire communication system.

For older adults, volunteering could improve brain function

October 17, 2017
Older adults worried about losing their cognitive functions could consider volunteering as a potential boost, according to a University of Missouri researcher. While volunteering and its associations with physical health ...

Magic mushrooms may 'reset' the brains of depressed patients

October 13, 2017
Patients taking psilocybin to treat depression show reduced symptoms weeks after treatment following a 'reset' of their brain activity.

Living near a forest keeps your amygdala healthier

October 13, 2017
A study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development has investigated the relationship between the availability of nature near city dwellers' homes and their brain health. Its findings are relevant for urban ...

Scientists researching drugs that could improve brain function in people with schizophrenia

October 12, 2017
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers are testing if drugs known as HDAC inhibitors improve cognition in patients with schizophrenia who have been treated with the antipsychotic drug clozapine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.