Sources of support about common mental health issues
The definition of self-harm is where a young person causes harm to themselves in order to cope with intrusive thoughts, feelings or experiences that they are not managing to deal with in any other non-harmful way. This can take the form of cutting, burning or non-lethal overdoses in adolescents while younger children and sometimes those with a Special Educational Need (SEN) are more inclined to pick or scratch at wounds, pull their hair out or bruise themselves.
Self-Harm and Eating Disorders in Schools: A Guide to Whole School Support and Practical Strategies. Pooky Knightsmith (2015) Jessica Kingsley Publishers
By Their Own Young Hand: Deliberate Self-harm and Suicidal Ideas in Adolescents. Keith Hawton and Karen Rodham (2006) Jessica Kingsley Publishers
A Short Introduction to Understanding and Supporting Children and Young People Who Self-harm. Carol Fitzpatrick (2012) Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months rather than just a few days. Some people think depression is trivial and not a genuine mental health condition. They are wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or something you can just “snap out” of by “pulling yourself together”. With the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.
Depression Alliance www.depressionalliance.org/information/what-depression
Christopher Dowrick and Susan Martin (2015) Can I Tell You About Depression? A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley Publisher
Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Phobias
Anxiety is far reaching and can take many different forms especially in children and young people. It is something that each of us experience at some point in our lives and can be normal. When thoughts of anxiety, fear or panic are repeatedly present over a period pf weeks and months, they can impact greatly on the young person’s ability to carry out their normal lives This is when intervention is needed to help the young person cope.
Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk
Lucy Willetts and Polly Waite (2014) Can II Tell You About Anxiety? A Guide for friends, family and professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Carol Fitzpatrick (2015) A Short Introduction to Helping Young People Manage Anxiety London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Obsessions and Compulsions
Obsessive disorders describe intrusive thoughts that enter the mind and cause upset and take over one’s ability to function normally in one’s life. Compulsions describe the behaviour that is carried out to manage the thoughts and feelings. An example would be a young person may worry that the house will burn down if they don’t turn off all the switches before they leave. The way they try to cope with these unsettling thoughts is to check the switches in the house repeatedly. This is just one example and it is important to note that OCD can take many forms and is not just confined to cleaning and checking.
OCD UK www.ocduk.org/ocd
Anita Jassi and Sarah Hull (2013) Can I Tell You About OCD? A Guide for friends, family and professionals London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Susan Conners (2011) The Tourette Syndrome & OCD Checklist: A practical reference for parents and teachers. San Francisco: Jassey-Bass
Young people may experience complicated and troubling thoughts and feelings about wanting to end their own lives. Some young people may talk about these feelings openly and frequently but never get to the stage where they feel they want to act on them. In contrast, some young people may not openly talk about these thoughts and feelings and may take their own life seemingly “out of the blue”. There is no one size fits all approach here, one should take seriously anyone who talks about suicide.
Prevention of young suicide UK – PAPYRUS www.papyrus-uk.org
On the edge: Childline spotlight report on suicide: www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/research-and-resources/on-the-edhe-childline-spotlight/
Keith Hawton and Karen Rodham (2006) By Their Own Young Hand: Deliberate Self-harm and Suicidal Ideas in Adolescents. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Terri A Erbacher, Jonathan B Singer and Scott Poland (2015) Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-Level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention and Postvention. New York Routledge
Food may be used as a way of coping with or communicating difficult thoughts and feelings that a young person experiences day to day. Some young people may go on to develop eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. Other young people particularly those who are younger may refuse to eat in certain situations or in front of certain people. This is because the young person does not have the words or communication skills available to them to convey how they are really feeling.
Beat – the eating disorders charity: www.b-eat.co.uk/about-eating-disorders
Eating Difficulties in Younger Children and when to worry www.inourhands.com/eating-difficulties-inyounger-children
Bryan Lask and Lucy Watson (2014) Can I Tell You About Eating Disorders? A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Pooky Knightsmith (2015) Self-harm and Eating Disorders In Schools: A Guide to Whole School Support and Practical Strategies. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Pooky Knightsmith (2012) Eating Disorders Pocketbook. Teachers’ Pocketbooks.