What is Mental Health?

“Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”


(World Health Organisation, 2014)

Prevalence and Statistics

The mental health of children within the United Kingdom is becoming a greater concern each year:

  • It is estimated that 24,000 children in Hertfordshire meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental health diagnosis

  • 1 in 8 children (5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health issue

  • Approximately 24,000 children in Hertfordshire meet the diagnostic criteria for mental health issues.

  • 50% of all mental health issues are established by the age of 14

  • In 2015, it was estimated that 18% of young people aged below 15 have previously self-harmed, however recent statistics show that this is now up to 20%

  • Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year

  • In England, 1 in 6 people report experience common MH problem every week

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (5.9%), depression (3.3%) and phobias (2.4%) are the most common issues in general mental health.

  • There were 5821 suicides last year in the UK, of these males accounted for 78% and women accounted for 22%

  • Women (20.7%) are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health issue than men (13.2%).

  • 48% of individuals with a mental health diagnosis would feel uncomfortable talking to their employer about their mental health

  • Mental health accounts for 21.1% of lived disabilities worldwide

  • Reports also suggest that less than 1 in 4 children receive adequate treatment for their mental health

(National Institute of Mental Health)

Causes of Mental Health

The cause of many mental health issues are still unknown, however, studies have indicated that a range of Biological Factors, Personal Experiences and your Environment, can contribute to the onset of a mental health issue.

Biological Factors

• Genetics

• Infections

• Brain defects or injury

• Prenatal damage

• Poor nutrition

• Illness

• Physical Injury

Personal Experiences

• Trauma

• Emotional Abuse

• Physical Abuse

• Neglect

• Social Isolation

• Bullying

• Death of a close individual

• Sexual Abuse


• A dysfunctional family life

• Changing Schools

• Moving homes

• Socio-cultural expectations

• Substance abuse by others

Potential Alarming Signs

There are a number of symptoms that are seen as ‘alarming’ by mental health professionals. If any of these are present it is recommended you should contact professional help:

  • A consistent feeling of low mood with no relief

  • Feelings of extreme moods (both high and low)

  • Thoughts or evidence of self-harm

  • Thoughts of suicide

  • An attempt of suicide

  • When the child feels that self help isn’t working

  • Problem sleeping and relaxing

  • Disconnecting from previously enjoyable activities and social situations

  • Thoughts of harming other people

  • Extreme changes in behaviour

  • If their symptoms affect their daily lives (not being able to attend school, social withdrawal etc.)


Please Remember
For a child to be diagnosed with a mental health issue, these symptoms need to be consistent and having an adverse effect on their daily lives.


Some of these symptoms are just a part of growing up.