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Whose 'problem' is mental health?

Young people’s well-being is in decline. They aren’t happy with their appearance. They feel they are falling behind at school. It can impact their mental health. But when a young person develops a mental health issue, whose responsibility is it? Eamon, 16, tells us what he thinks.

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mental health

Teenager looks at camera

The perfect fit

Many young people with mental health issues aren’t getting the support they need. Some are seen as troublemakers. They are misunderstood and get punished instead of listened to. Eamon thinks this is because of how rigid and often unaccepting our society is.

‘I believe forcing those who are suffering from mental illness to fit in with a society that doesn’t facilitate them is unfair and amazingly backward.’ 

Society should fit the people, not the other way around.

Hidden from sight 

Recognising when someone needs mental health support is not always easy. Eamon points out that when something isn’t physical, it can remain invisible to others, especially in school.

‘When it comes to physical impairments, you know that they are there. But when it comes to something like autism, it is less obvious.'

‘I don't take my mental health condition as an impairment. I don't see it as something that makes me "better" either. I’ve always lived with it. It isn’t like when I got diagnosed it magically appeared out of nowhere.’ 

‘To me, it's just "how I am". To others, it's "me" at the least and "me being weird" at most. Because I see my condition as just a part of myself, I can't really say the adverse effects of my autism - I can't notice any adverse effects and I doubt anyone but a professional can.’

girl with big smile on swing looking at camera

The Good Childhood Report

Our Good Childhood Report 2021 shows that modern life continues to erode the happiness of young people. Worried about school, friendships and how they look, this has become the norm for children.

we can't cure mental health

Concern not cure

Eamon believes that it is important to be conscious of other people’s mental health. Showing concern is something to be appreciated. However, through his own experience, he says people often try to ‘cure’ you without any professional expertise. This can be unhelpful and even dangerous.

‘It can be beneficial to make other people’s mental health your concern. But don’t make it your problem because you’re likely not qualified enough to deal with those problems in the first place.’

boy smiles at camera while resting arms on books

Making changes 

Our Good Childhood Report shows even before Covid-19, there had been a worrying decline in children’s happiness. With this comes a rise in young people with mental health problems.

Our well-being services are there to listen and give professional help. We provide a space where they can talk about their problems, free of judgement.

Eamon points out, more needs to be done to educate people about mental health issues in young people. It isn’t always a hinderance to their lives. It also shouldn’t always be up to the person that suffers with it to change how they behave. Building a more accepting society would give young people a better chance to thrive and have a brighter future.