Don't Leave Young Suffering in Silence; around One in 10 Young People Experience Mental Health Problems, Which Can Have Significant Impacts on Their Later Life. Here, Cardiff University's National Centre for Mental Health Outline the Issues That Face Children and Teenagers and What We Can Do to Improve This
MENTAL health problems are common and it's estimated that in the UK about one in four of us will experience problems with our mental wellbeing at some point in our lives.
These problems can affect anyone, regardless of their race, gender, social background or age. Mostly children and young people grow up mentally healthy, but just like adults, they too can experience mental health difficulties.
About one in 10 children and teenagers between the ages of five and 16 have a diagnosed mental health problem and around one in 50 have more than one condition.
The most common childhood problems include emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression, behavioural problems such as conduct disorder and conditions that affect development like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and global developmental delay (GDD).
If a child has one or more of these disorders it can affect many areas of their life, such as relationships with family and friends, school performance, and increase their risk of self-harm.
Young people who experience these types of problems are also more likely to experience mental health problems in their adult life.
It is therefore really important that mental health problems in children are detected, understood and treated as early as possible, in order to reduce the difficulties they can cause.
Cardiff University's National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) has a very strong team of researchers, led by Professor Anita Thapar, who are working on mental health in children and adolescents.
The NCMH has been set up to support and undertake high quality mental health research in Wales. Key to this is the Wales Mental Health Network (WMHN), established by the NCMH, which is aiming to recruit 6,000 volunteers to take part in research. This includes children (aged four and above) and adults, who have experienced: | Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder | Autism spectrum disorder | Bipolar disorder or manic depression | Schizophrenia or psychosis | Post traumatic stress disorder | Dementia, for example Alzheimer's disease Anita Thapar, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Cardiff University, said: "It is extremely important to improve the mental health of our children.
This depends crucially upon research to understand the causes and triggers of childhood disorders.
Most importantly we need patients and families to come forward to help with our studies. Together, we can make a difference."
As well as the WMHN, the NCMH is also carrying out a number of other research studies and engaging with patients, families, healthcare professionals and the public to ensure they are kept up to date and can contribute to the research.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ADHD affects around 1-3% of children in the UK and is more common in boys than girls. Children with ADHD can have differing degrees of difficulty with concentrating, keeping still and thinking before they act.
Children with ADHD can often experience problems at school, difficult relationships with family and friends, and have low self-esteem.
Research suggests that both genes and environment are important in how ADHD develops.
However, we need to understand more about the causes of ADHD given the problems it can cause. This will lead to better treatments and support, helping to improve the lives of children with ADHD and their families. At Cardiff University's Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers are examining possible genetic and environmental causes of ADHD.
To do this they are studying how children with ADHD think and plan, how they pick up on other people's emotions and how they deal with stress. …