On #WorldMentalHealthDay, we’ll read a lot about early intervention. There will be stories of children and adults struggling with suicidal ideation and/or intent, anxiety, stress and depression. We’ll read about the need for parity in mental and physical health care. We can hope for a commitment from Central Government and significant funding to meet increasing demand.
Any organisation failing to meet demand with supply, would be derided by shareholders. Every effort would be made to remedy such a dereliction of common sense. So why wouldn’t we apply the same logic to the hundreds of children and young people clamouring for mental health support?
At XenZone, Kooth and Qwell we’ve seen and heard first-hand from young people who are self-harming, trying to control aggression, suffering from abuse, taking drugs or trying to keep on the right side of depression. We know that nationally if intervention isn’t implemented early, and to those children now, it can create a spike in demand, then as a country we have failed them.
Perhaps one answer in cash-strapped Britain is to accept the digitalisation of care as the net we need to catch and hold our children and young people. Marry the two and you have a net cast wide, offering immediate and anonymous respite for children and young people who can freely express themselves to counsellors and therapists ready to help, with a listening, non-judgmental ear.
After all, this is the generation brought up on touch-screens, Snapchat, Skype and Instagram. There is no section of society more comfortable with the online world, and none so desperately in need of support for their mental health.
Our hope is that we will meet rising demand nationally and supply every child and young person with access to the help they need to support them to manage their mental health problems.