Health Professional

Working with young people

This section is for anyone working with young people and gives links to information and online support materials and resources.

For anyone working professionally with young people – mental health and emotional well-being is always going to be relevant.


Youth Mental Health – a Public Health Priority

Resilience and Emotional Well-being

Tools and Resources

Youth Mental Health – a Public Health Priority

For anyone working professionally with young people – mental health and emotional wellbeing is always going to be relevant – and it is vital that staff feel confident and aware of the basics in relation to young people’s developmental and emotional experiences. The Childrens & Young Peoples Report (2012) summarised that rationale as to why focusing on working with young people’s mental health and wellbeing needs is so vital:

■ One in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. About half of these (5.8%) have a conduct disorder, 3.7% an emotional disorder (anxiety, depression) and 1–2% have severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

■ At any one time, around 1.2–1.3 million children will have a diagnosable mental health disorder

■ Half of those with lifetime mental illness (excluding dementia) first experience symptoms by the age of 14, and three-quarters before their mid-20s

■ The rates of disorder rise steeply in middle to late adolescence. By 11–15 it is 13% for boys and 10% for girls, and approaching adult rates of around 23% by age 18–20 years

■ Self-harming in young people is not uncommon (10–13% of 15–16-year-olds have self-harmed) but only a fraction of cases are seen in hospital settings

■ Although effective treatments are available only around 25% of those who need such treatment receive it

■ 11–16 year olds with an emotional disorder are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs

■ Around 60% of Looked After Children and 72% of those in residential care have some level of emotional and mental health problem.5 A high proportion experience poor health, educational and social outcomes after leaving care

■ Looked After Children and care leavers are between four and five times more likely to attempt suicide in adulthood

■ One third of all children and young people in contact with the youth justice system have been looked after. It is also important to note that a substantial majority of children and young people in care who commit offences had already started to offend before becoming looked after

■ Young people in prison are 18 times more likely to take their own lives than others of the same age

■ The costs of mental health problems for the English economy have recently been estimated at £105 billion pa

■ Children of teenage mothers are generally at increased risk of poverty, low educational attainment, poor housing, poor physical and mental health, and have lower rates of economic activity in adult life

■ Young people in prison are 18 times more likely to take their own lives than others of the same age

Resilience and Emotional Well-being

Youthspace will be introducing a series of articles on Resilience and Emotional Well-being over the coming months to introduce the most recent thinking and research findings on this important topic.

 "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." (World Health Organisation)

Resilience is…

...the ability to bounce back from a negative experience.

…achieving positive outcomes despite challenging or threatening circumstances.

…a broad conceptual umbrella relating to positive adaption (Masten & Obradovic 2006).

''There is no such thing as an 'invulnerable child' who can overcome any obstacle or adversity that she encounters in life. Resilience is not a rare and magical quality. In fact it is quite common'’ (Masten., 2001).

The primary factor in resilience is having positive relationships inside or outside one’s family. It is the single most critical means of handling both ordinary and extraordinary levels of stress.

Tools and Resources

Check out our extensive list of information and downloadable Youthspace fact sheets, leaflets and guides in the Resources section.

eLearning Modules: An Introduction to Mental Health

Young people from the Youthspace Youth Board worked with mental health clinicians to develop 3 interactive and engaging modules:

  1. Bridge the Gap - Raising awareness of youth mental health
  2. Remove the Barriers - Engaging young people
  3. Assessment - Building confidence with the youth approach

These learning tools can be helpful for those working with young people, young people themselves and anyone interested in learning more about mental health. Take a look by clicking here: eLearning Modules

Who's who in mental health? An alphabetical guide to the different organisations and professionals in mental health, provided by Mind.