As exam results season approaches, students’ mental health is once again under the spotlight as many struggle to cope with expectations.
With A level and GCSE results due later this month, the London-wide Open Your Mind campaign aims to make children and young people more aware of the mental health support that is available to them across the capital.
Its aim is to support young people in seeking help early, before reaching a crisis point, including during times of heightened pressure such as around results’ days.
Research shows that, too often, children and young people end up in A&Es because they did not get help soon enough or because they did not know where else to go.
The Open Your Mind campaign signposts young people to other services they can access which they may not be aware of, such as digital text support, NHS mental health crisis lines, and counselling.
Hannah, a 22 year old from Barnet in north London, described the exam pressure she faced, personally, and how it affected her mental health.
“I really struggled just before getting my exam results at school. There was a lot of build-up at school about how important the exam years were and there were my own high expectations of myself on top of that.
“I found school really overwhelming and it was a lot about being in an environment with so many people and I had to find my own way throughout that. Having other support through a campaign like Open Your Mind would have been really helpful.”
Hannah, who has been dealing with her own mental health issues since she was just 14, added
“My school was not very good at getting me the help or support I needed. When I was 15, I was admitted to an adolescent ward after two consecutive overdoses. I spent five months in hospital and when I came out, I struggled to go back into school”.
With access to appropriate mental health services, Hannah has come a long way. She has completed her first year at university and hopes to become a clinical psychologist. Currently, she is working as an expert by experience at her local mental health hospital trust. This is so she can ensure that other children and young people get the support and care they need.
Child consultant and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr Leon Wehncke, from the North East London Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“There has been a stark rise in the number of children and young people attending emergency departments suffering from mental health crises.”
“The primary challenge facing young people at risk of suffering from mental ill-health is that they are unaware of the range of other services and resources that are available to them”
“The resources signposted through the Open Your Mind campaign are of the highest clinical standard and can be the vital support many young people need at what can be a challenging and anxious time.”
David Bradley, Chair of Cavendish Square Group, said:
“Children and young people who are experiencing mental ill health, or a mental health crisis, as well as parents and carers, can now easily access expert advice and support by visiting openyourmind.support.”
''We are striving to provide and promote alternative services, in order to better help young people in need of mental health support in London''.