North London Partners in health and care

#HandsUp4HealthyMinds

Chris Dzikiti
Mental Health Lead – North London Partners

#HandsUp4HealthyMinds

World Mental Health Day is on 10th October 2018. This year’s focus is on young people and mental health in a changing world. 

Let’s talk young people; millennials, Gen-z, the i-Pad generation. I do not believe in a snowflake generation, I believe the world is changing and changing so fast that our young people are struggling to cope with new responsibilities, new expectations, peer pressure, to make sense of all the changes and to look after themselves at the same time. 

Here is some thought-provoking facts: 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health issue but the average delay between a young person first showing symptoms of mental ill health and getting help is ten years. 1 in 10 primary school children say they suffer from a low sense of wellbeing. Suicide is the most common cause of death for people aged 5-19. Read that last sentence again. It’s, well, shocking, isn’t it? 

We cannot ignore the rising number of children, and young adults who are frightened, confused and struggling to cope, who are struggling to find meaningful support. 

My name is Chris and I lead the mental health programme of the North Central London STP. During my years of working in psychiatric hospitals, on wards and in the management offices, I was always committed to my patients. Now, working across the five boroughs of NCL, I am committed to the people, the residents of north central London - young and old, in all walks of life. I would like to take time to talk about what we’re doing to help our children and young people, our future generations and tomorrow’s leaders. 

Mental ill health often starts in young adulthood. It is vital that we give children and young people access to the support they need to grow up happy, healthy and resilient. As a father, I cannot imagine the confusion and helplessness my children would feel if they were experiencing mental ill health and I cannot imagine how I would have the strength and patience to help them through the “darkness”. 

Children and young people are resilient, teenagers can be challenging but there are some key signs to look out for that may indicate that there is more going on than the usual changes in mood and personality. Anyone who works with or cares for a young person has the opportunity to play an active role in supporting their mental wellbeing. Starting a conversation that is supportive and non-judgmental with them can be the first step on that journey to support. 

There are some simple things you can do to help children and young people you meet, including:

  • Read these tips on how to start a conversation
  • Download this list of resources for young people
  • Take the Quiz to see how much you know
  • And please do and share this slide deck with your colleagues.So let’s talk about the issues that young people are facing in the world today and to start the conversation about what they need to grow up happy, healthy and resilient. After all, as Frederick Douglass said: "It's easier to build strong children than repair broken adults".

If you’d like to get in touch, please contact me at: christopher.dzikiti@nhs.net