Mental Health at Any Age
Mental Health at All Ages
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (1-7 Feb 2021) reminded us just how important mental health is at all ages. Different life stages bring about varying challenges to our lives and livelihood. With so many changes going on within the work place, school and our homes, it is so important to regularly check in with ourselves and our loved ones to take the necessary steps to preserve and protect our mental health and wellness.
Children’s Mental Health
This year, the theme of Children’s Mental Health Week was Express Yourself.
Expressing yourself is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good.
The following link offers free resources helping children and young people to explore what it means to Express Yourself. All of the ideas can be adapted for use in school, for home-schooling, online lessons or independent learning. https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/schools-and-youth-groups/
- 20% of adolescents may experience mental health in any given year
- 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.5
- 10% of children and young people aged 5-16 have clinically diagnosable mental health problems, yet 70% have not had appropriate interventions
Adults Mental Health
Researchers believe that most mental health conditions begin early in life, usually by 25 years old. Our early 20s often involve stressful life situations such as finding a job or finishing college, moving out of a family home, and becoming financially independent.
Our 30s and 40s often involve building a career, raising a family, or juggling many different responsibilities all at the same time.
During our early 50s, females are likely to experience menopause, which can affect mental health or stress levels. Romantic relationship expectations and roles may changes over the years, prompting new stressors to navigate, balance and overcome.
In our 60s, retirement is typical. Houses may be emptier, or we might be a caretaker of an elderly parent.
Our 70s and beyond can be a time to enjoy retirement, start new hobbies, and seeing friends and family more often. It can also be the time when many people are diagnosed with serious health problems, such as heart disease or cancer. Sometimes, dealing with the death of a loved one. People in their 70s and beyond may also face tough financial situations due to medical bills or running out of retirement savings.
Older adults who have serious physical conditions are more likely to develop depression.
Mental Health in Older Adults
Older demographics have been known to experience more barriers surrounding Mental health and problems are under-identified by health-care professionals and older people themselves due to the stigma surrounding these conditions makes people reluctant to seek help. (WHO)
- Globally, the population is ageing rapidly. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double, from 12% to 22%.
- Mental health and well-being are as important in older age as at any other time of life.
- Mental and neurological disorders among older adults account for 6.6% of the total disability (DALYs) for this age group.
- Approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder.
The following link provides free resources and a free downloadable PDF titled “Your Health Matters”.
What Can We do?
- Prioritise our own health
- Do things that you love, just because you love them
- Get outdoors, look up and take deep breathes
- Breathe and focus on your breath to create centeredness
- Give gratitude
- Take mental inventory of all the things that make you smile in a day, no matter how small they may appear
- Try something new
- Stay in touch
- Maintain strong relationships
- Give something back
- Eat well
- Be active
- Don’t forget about your own health
- Follow your doctor’s advice
- Listen to your body and your intuition
- Develop healthy habits.
- Protect your mental health by knowing the signs of a mental health condition.
- Get help when needed
- Talk to a mental health professional
- Create space for yourself and loved ones