The second week in May was the 21st annual Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year focused on the impact of loneliness and the practical steps we can take to address it.
For young people in particular, mental health has become one of the greatest challenges they are faced with today. In the UK, government figures indicate that one in six young people aged 6 to 16 had a probable mental health condition in late 2021, a sharp increase from one in nine in 2017.
Meanwhile, 50 percent of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by the age of 14, with 75 percent developing by the age of 24, according to NAMI, The National Alliance for Mental Illness in the US. This shows just what a crucial and vulnerable stage adolescence is and why it is so important to support young people in this stage of life.
Mental health is a challenge that schools across the world are grappling with as they constantly seek new ways to safeguard the well-being of their students. It’s also a challenge that has undoubtedly increased as a result of the pandemic, as schools for the first time in history had to close their doors, young people spent more time than ever with their families and away from their friends, and their learning and social lives moved online.
During COVID, teenagers lost the true connection with their peers and therefore the world, they felt isolated and lost their independence while having to deal with the conflicting feelings and thoughts typical of adolescence.