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Growing up is meant to be one of the very best times in anyone’s life but it can also be tough. There are many pressures and some children and young people are exposed to situations and experiences that can make them particularly vulnerable.

What is mental health?

We all have mental health. It affects how we think, feel and behave, and determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Our mental health can change over time. Some people call mental health ’emotional health’ or ‘ wellbeing’. In the same way that sometimes we get physically sick with a cold or flu, sometimes we get mentally ill too.

What are mental health problems?

Changes in mental health are very common, for example with the stresses and strains of life. But if these changes don’t go away, and start to affect our everyday life, this can lead to problems with our mental health and can lead to mental illness. Over the course of your life, if you have mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including our genes and life experiences.

What is mental illness?

The term mental illness is used to describe diagnosable mental health problems. This is when you experience problems with your mental health that interfere with your life and meet criteria set out by health professionals.

How common are mental health problems?

Anyone can experience problems with their mental health from mild stress to diagnosable mental health problems, and it is thought that at any one time at least 1 person in 6 is experiencing a mental health condition. Half of all mental health problems are thought to start to before the age of 14.

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Mental Health Awareness

Talking Mental Health is an animation designed to help begin conversations about mental health in the classroom and beyond. The animation and accompanying resources have been created by a team of animators, children, teachers and clinicians, and is being taught to year 6 and 6 children around the UK. For more resources, including the free Teacher Toolkit, please visit the Schools in Mind pages at www.annafreud.org

This short Mental Health Awareness video was produced by Healthwatch in Peterborough with local Youth Health Champions. It was designed for teenagers and explores what mental health is, what affects mental health, teenage specific pressures and how to manage poor mental health and more! It is a fantastic resource for schools and has been adopted by all Peterborough secondary schools.

Visit keep-your-head.com for more information

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