Only 37% Of Young People 'Would Talk To Someone About Mental Illness'

21 November 2016, 11:09 | Updated: 21 November 2016, 11:17

Less than two fifths of young people said they would talk to someone if they were struggling with mental health problems, new research has found.

While 78% of those aged 15 to 25 said they would speak out if they were physically ill, only 37% said they would do this if they were suffering from mental illness.

When asked how they would cope with this, half (50%) said by crying, while 46% said they would rather stay by themselves. Only 21% of the 885 young people who were questioned said they would talk to someone who supports them.

Campaigners at See Me, who aim to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health, commissioned pollsters at YouGov to carry out new research, and claimed the results showed young people fear they will not be taken seriously by adults when it comes to mental health issues.

But a survey of 203 adults with a young person in their care found 83% would be confident talking to them about mental health, with 76% saying they would know where to go for help.

The findings were released as See Me launched the It's Okay campaign in a bid to encourage more young people to speak up before their problems reach crisis point.

Emma Hewitt, 20, from Paisley, first experienced difficulties with her mental health when she was 13, struggling with self-harm and suicidal thoughts

But she said as no-one spoke about mental health, she did not know who to turn to.

She stated: "If you have a physical problem you go and tell your parent or the school nurse. But if you have a mental health problem it isn't that easy. At 12 or 13, I didn't talk about mental health, I didn't know anything about it. At some points I felt completely different. But at other points I thought everyone else was going through the same thing.

"Adults didn't really tend to understand or know what to do, so I thought it was better to keep it to myself. It would have been easier if someone had spoken to me.''

Lisa Cohen, See Me programme manager, said: "Young people don't feel that adults take them seriously when it comes to mental health. But they should be able to speak openly about what they are going through, without feeling guilty. It is okay not to be okay.

"Everyone involved in young people's lives needs to have the confidence to open up conversations about mental health and be supportive about what to do next.''