Youth Mental Health Day is on 19th September 2023. The day encourages understanding and discussion of mental health in young people. Each year, the day aims to get young people, and those in support, talking about how to improve mental health. It aims to provide hope and positivity, and to break the stigma surrounding mental health.
Stem4 founded Youth Mental Health Day in the UK. Stem4 is a charity that supports young people to build positive mental health. Their mission is to raise awareness and highlight the importance of early intervention in young people’s mental health issues.
The theme for Youth Mental Health Day 2023 is #BeBrave. This could be building confidence in facing difficult situations, building social confidence, or learning to have the courage to fail by doing something new no matter the outcome; being brave can mean something different to everyone.
Young people have been affected by multiple crises within the last few years, from the pandemic to global warming to the cost of living crisis. Stem4 found that four in ten young people say they have mental health difficulties, of which seven in ten say they are experiencing feelings of anxiety (71%) and low mood (67%).
Stem4 also stated that over the past year, nearly half of young people say they have experienced feelings of loneliness, isolation, and feeling left out either all, or most of the time.
These findings inspired this year’s theme to #BeBrave.
Stem4 hope that by focusing on what it takes to be brave, they can give young people the courage and confidence they need to not only achieve their goals and ambitions, but to also be the best version of themselves.
Advice for young people on mental health
Ivetsey Bank Hospital is our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Staffordshire.
We asked our consultants at Ivetsey Bank Hospital for advice on young people’s mental health. Dr Hussain Syed, Consultant Psychiatrist, and Dr Melany Liebenberg, Specialty Doctor gave their thoughts below.
Do you have any tips for how young people can manage their mental health?
Dr Hussain Syed said: “When you are struggling with your mental health, it is hard to forget the past. While the past may be in your head all the time, try not to forget that the future is in your hands; don’t lose it!”
Dr Melany Liebenberg said: “Remember that everyone has their own struggles and real life is not perfect which is what makes it a beautiful and unique experience. It allows us all to grow, become more resilient, and learn to understand and empathise with ourselves and others.”
With multiple crises over the last few years impacting young people’s mental health, how can young people build confidence in their lives?
Dr Hussain Syed said: “Less time on social media can make life more meaningful; you will be less lonely and happier. Try to unplug for a while.”
Dr Melany Liebenberg said: “Try not to let social media have a negative influence on how you think and feel about your own body and your own life. Learning to be kind to yourself and others, and making genuine connections with people who contribute to our lives in a positive way is so important for our wellbeing.”