Children as young as 11-years old struggle with mental health, says new report

Young Harrow Foundation

Dan Burke, CEO of Young Harrow Foundation

A new report of young people aged 10-19 years old, has revealed that children as young as eleven are struggling with suicidal thoughts and mental health issues.

One-in-five of the young people surveyed, said they want help with mental health issues - which was cited as a major concern, alongside the four other key areas mentioned in the report, of youth violence, employment, inequalities and physical health.

This is Harrow is based on surveying 4500 young people in one geographic area and is the most ambitious report of young people’s needs in Harrow – led by young people themselves. The report was commissioned by a charity, Young Harrow Foundation, jointly with Harrow Council to help understand the pressing needs of young people in the borough.

Dan Burke, CEO of local charity Young Harrow Foundation, says:

Today, on World Mental Health Day, this report shows the real and challenging issues that now need to be dealt with urgently – both in the borough and across London. This is Harrow has been a real eye-opener for what young people are thinking and feeling in 2018.

“”It’s vital that we now work together to address what young people have told us. So far, we have launched a commitment to help local charities and other organisations work together - so that they can come up with and trial innovative new solutions. I’d urge anyone wanting to be part of this exciting new movement to get in touch with us.”

Other findings of the report include:

·         One-in-five (20%) of young people in Harrow said they need mental health support, or know someone who does

·         17% of young people say they need help with suicidal thoughts, or know someone who does

·         15 % of those interviewed listed self-harm as a support need

·         A massive 40% of youngsters would like help to improve their confidence

Councillor Graham Henson, Leader of Harrow Council, said:

“There are some shocking statistics in this report and my hope now is that more young people are willing to talk about mental health with the honesty and candour of these young people. They’ve thrown down a challenge to us and believe me, we’re listening. I want to forge a new approach with local community groups and charities that sets Harrow towards being a leader in mental wellness.”

The report also highlighted growing concerns around youth violence – listed as the second most urgent concern for young people. 46 people have suffered knife crime injuries in Harrow in the last 12 months, and 62% of charities that were involved in the research identified youth violence as a key need for young people.

Young Harrow Foundation included 15% of young people aged 10-19 years old across the borough and twenty-four young people from different schools were trained by Young Harrow Foundation to motivate and encourage other young people in their schools through assemblies or lessons. The primary aim of the ‘peer leaders’ was to ensure that children were as honest as possible in their answers to the survey.

As many young people were not aware of the support available to them, a new website youngharrowfoundation.org has now been launched. This shows them the local youth support services on offer for young people, including for mental health.

In addition to the survey, ‘This is Harrow’ also combines extensive information from 23 focus groups held with local young people; feedback from 51 local charities, and Needs Assessment data from Harrow Council. Based on all data sources, the report found that the top five needs, in order of priority are: mental and emotional well-beinggang and youth violence; employment; inequalities; and physical health.

According to Young Minds – the young people’s mental health charity, almost 1 in 4 children and young people show some evidence of mental ill health, including anxiety and depression and 1 in 5 young adults have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

To read the full report visit: www.youngharrowfoundation.org