“After my daughter became sick, it was a complete eye-opener. I have never learnt anything so much as I have learnt since then.”
Young people go through changes in many areas of life, especially between the ages of 12 and 18. Balancing school, family, friendships, hobbies, etc. while also trying to find your identity can be a lot to deal with.
With so many things going on, it's natural for a young person to have ups and downs. It's important that they learn more about looking after themselves and staying healthy – both in mind and body. It's equally important to be able to recognise when a young person in your life is going through something particularly difficult.
Noticing the signs early on can make all the difference. Schools are a great starting point for noticing behaviours. It can be worth speaking with the school counsellor to ask if they are concerned. You can also reach out to other key people who interact with them regularly, and check in on how the young person has been behaving.
If you're concerned that a young person in your life is experiencing mental health issues, there are things you can do right away. The resources below have information and advice. If you want to support a young person, but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at our page on support for carers.
A closer look
Schools are crucial in recognising and supporting mental health
Most behaviours of young people are not mental illness
Young people can display signs and symptoms in differing ways
Many young people use self-help tactics and resilience to improve their own wellbeing
11-18 years old is the age of onset of mental illness for many people
When I was young it would have really helped me if people had been more open about mental illness. Back then, when I first became ill, it wasn't really talked about or recognised. I didn't understand what I was experiencing or what was happening to me. It's a lot better now.
When my daughter first became unwell we didn't recognise it. We just thought she was a regular teenage girl: locking herself in her room, not talking to her parents. We didn’t think there was anything unusual. Now, we know what to look out for.
My daughter's school rang and said that she was very distressed. Shortly after, she was in a mental health facility for seven weeks.