Salford’s children and young people are suffering from much higher rates of mental health illness than the UK average.
The most recent Public Health England figures show that in the borough, 139.3 children per 100,000 have been admitted to hospital with mental health issues.
This is compared to 89.5 for England.
These figures come as the city marks children’s mental health week, with a range of support services offering help to those in need.
What is mental health and what are Place2Be doing?
Mental health is an illness that can affect anyone of any age. According to Place2Be, 1 in 6 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem.
This year’s theme is ‘Growing Together’. This is all about growing emotionally and helping others grow.
The week aims to help children and young people get out of their comfort zone and understand how emotional growth is a slow process that will take time. As an adult, it is important to give children support, be patient, and help them understand their feelings.
Place2Be, the organisers of the awareness week since 2016, has created activity packs for both primary and secondary schools to get involved.
As a result of this, the organisations hope to raise awareness and help children understand how to reach out and talk when they are feeling low.
Salford-based theatre company, Footlights, has been going around schools to help raise awareness for mental health awareness week. Aaron who works for the Salford theatre company said: “It’s really important that as an adult you influence them [children] positively.”
The team are on tour, focusing on how to be safe online and how cyberbullying can be a massive influence on a child’s mental health. According to YoungMinds UK, 38% of young people reported that social media has a negative impact on how they feel about themselves, compared to 23% who reported that it has a positive impact. This was worse for girls, with 46% of girls stating that social media had a negative impact on their self-esteem.
Aaron added: “I don’t think there are enough support systems in place, I don’t think there is enough signposting, and I don’t think schools have the time or resources or the funding to be able to signpost children if they do have a problem.”
Below is a clip from the original interview with Aaron from our reporter Ben Rudd.
Salford mental health services
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, there are many services available nearby to help. Use the map to help find mental health services near you.
There are also services available online, for those who may not want an in person visit. These include:
Kooth – an online counselling and wellbeing for children aged 11-18.
Shout – a 24/7 free messaging service for support. Text GMSalford to 85258 to start a chat with a crisis volunteer.