A new resource from Public Health England’s (PHE) Mental Health Intelligence Network highlights the importance of local organisations measuring and acting to improve the mental wellbeing of children and young people.
Measuring mental wellbeing in children and young people shows that raising levels of mental wellbeing influences a child’s ability to learn, their resilience to risky behaviours and their physical and mental health in adulthood. Half of all mental health problems emerge before the age of 14 and 1 in 10 children will have a clinically diagnosed mental health problem during their childhood.
PHE’s resource is designed to help local organisations decide how to best gauge the mental wellbeing of children and young people in their areas. It also helps to identify local opportunities to enhance wellbeing, including through community or physical activities, as well as factors that may have a negative impact, such as high crime rates and family breakdown.
Professor Brian Ferguson, Chief Economist and Head of Health Intelligence Networks, PHE:
We know that positive mental wellbeing has an enormous impact on children and young people and is an essential part of their ability to develop, flourish and lead rich fulfilling lives.
But, in order to intervene effectively, local organisations need an accurate picture of the situation in their area. Our resource outlines the best means by which they can do this. Ultimately better data means better understanding and better decisions for policy and practice.
Mental wellbeing is a measure of people’s emotions as well as their ability to function as individuals and as members of society, often defined as ‘feeling good and functioning well’. Mental wellbeing widely affects individuals, their quality of life and wider society - with research showing that high levels of mental wellbeing are associated with improved recovery from illness and reductions in premature mortality.