Adverse childhood events and mental health
We know that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are at higher risk of developing mental health problems. Additionally, those in the care of the local authority or in the youth justice system are more likely to have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which increase the likelihood further.
ACEs are traumatic events such as being a victim of abuse or neglect, or growing up in a household in which alcohol, substance misuse, mental ill health, domestic violence or criminal behaviour that results in incarceration are present.
Research has consistently shown that 10% of children aged 5-16 years suffer from a clinically significant mental health problem. For some the likelihood is even higher, with 60% of looked after children experiencing some form of emotional or mental disorder. Young people in prison are 18 times more likely to take their own lives than others of the same age.
Improving outcomes for young people
Outcomes for young people are improved by early detection followed by early intervention into poor wellbeing. Individuals exposed to ACEs may have less ability to bounce back after setbacks and need support to strengthen their resilience. Understanding a child’s world is the first step in supporting them to develop their coping capacity.
The One app already supports young people to build resilience by helping them to understand their strengths and stressors and encouraging their mindful awareness, social connections and coping strategies.
We are constantly co-producing and developing our apps. This month we are delighted to announce that, building on the success of One app we have developed three new features to help children and young people share their views about other areas of their lives – the first of these is My Wellbeing.
Think how helpful it would be to hear from the young people you work whether they have the following in their lives:
- a trusted adult
- being engaged and happy in their community
- attending sports groups
- meaningful friendships and relationships.
You may feel that even more importantly you need to know those who don’t possess those factors and are potentially at greater risk of poor outcomes.
Mind Of My Own’s ‘My Wellbeing’ has been co-designed to promote young people’s mindful awareness of their mood and emotional state, as well as helping them to identify resilience factors in their lives. When used by young people in your care you will understand what makes them happy, how they feel about where they live, the things they worry about or that cause them concern. You will gain insights into how young people feel about themselves right through to how they deal with tricky situations they face.
As a free upgrade My Wellbeing will be launched to all organisations signed up to Mind Of My Own’s One app. If you are a member of our community, do nothing: on 1 August 2019 your app will upgrade to include this new feature.
We are delighted to add this significant new feature to the service we offer to organisations that work to support and safeguard children and young people.
Jill Thorburn and Yvonne Anderson
We recommend this report by Public Health England for understandable, accessible facts about young people’s mental health.