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Peer pressure, exams, family relationships - teenagers explain the stresses of modern life


For some young people, life can be stressful. We look at the work one local Healthwatch is doing to help young people raise awareness of the challenges that affect their mental wellbeing. 

Young people have a lot to deal with. Alongside schoolwork, exams, and the usual trials and tribulations involved with being a teenager, they now have social media to contend with too. This means that, for many, life can be very stressful.

It’s important that communities understand the challenges that affect young people’s mental wellbeing and what can be done to support them. Healthwatch Rutland has been working with local young people for the last 18 months to understand the issues that they face. By collaborating with schools and the Rutland Youth Council, Healthwatch Rutland has been able to hear directly from young people about their biggest concerns.

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A survey completed by almost 1,000 people aged between 15 and 18 found that the teenagers were struggling to cope, that they were unsure about where to turn for help, and that they wanted mental health to be included on the school curriculum.

“The film is proving to be so beneficial. It is fantastic to have a tool to demonstrate – in young people’s own words – the huge benefit of having access to this kind of support in schools. We look forward to continuing to work with young people to help our community develop a greater understanding of their needs.”

Dr Ann Williams, Youth Team Leader, Healthwatch Rutland

After hearing the results, the County Council agreed to lead a pilot support scheme for young people at Rutland County College. This included the introduction of a student forum for mental health and wellbeing at the college, the establishment of a new pastoral team, MindEd training for all staff, inclusion of a mental health information section in the library, and the opportunity for students to go to a drop-in centre led by a trained nurse one day each week.

This approach has proved to be very effective. To demonstrate its impact, and to enable more people to hear from the students about their experiences, Healthwatch Rutland also created a film. The project gives adults the opportunity to hear from young people about the challenges they face and what could be done to support them. 

The film was first shown at the launch event for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Future in Mind Programme – designed to transform mental health services for children and young people in these areas. Healthwatch Rutland has since been asked to show the film to wider audiences, including headteachers and the council.

It is hoped that the film will help secure additional funding required to deliver similar support to that offered at Rutland County College in more schools.

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If you would like to share your experience of health and care services near you, get in touch with your local Healthwatch. 

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