Alarming numbers on youth mental health: ‘Only ten per cent dare to seek help’

The need to act on the mental health of young people has never been greater. Regional research by Kzitermee.be shows in alarming numbers that things are not going well with our young people from the Flemish southwest.

No less than 2,165 participants, including 1,315 girls and 819 boys, made their voices heard. For example, 1 in 4 to 5 young adults report low life satisfaction and give an average score of 2.95/5 for their mental health.

This study was an initiative of Logo (Local Health Consulting) Leieland with research support from Howest (Research Group in Applied Health Sciences).

The demand for youth welfare is increasing

There are many social developments and trends that have an impact on the mental health of young people and increase the demand for care and youth care. For example, increasing pressure for performance and social expectations, growing inequality of opportunity, and the coronavirus crisis pose major challenges.”

“Together with the region, Kzitermee.be wants to work towards happiness in southwest Flanders, where young people feel good, can be themselves and be well surrounded. A mission to which we can all contribute,” said Jeremy Vannekhut, President of Logo Leyland. “.

Support from the environment

Young people described support from the immediate environment as important. Young people mainly go to their parents and friends when they are facing hard times. In addition, the survey shows that many young people have doubts or do not dare to take a step into an aid organization.

Only 10% of young people surveyed indicated that they would take the step to seek help, 43% had doubts and 46% would not. Since the threshold for many young people to contact an organization is high, the Kzitermee.be project will make an extra effort to provide the immediate environment (friends, parents, teachers…) with tools to discuss problems and break taboos. .

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We want to do this by helping them identify signals. This relates to changes in behavior, for example an inability to focus, sleeping less well, or delaying tasks, and changes in emotions such as less desire to do things, less energy and anxiety, says Lawrence Plato, a local prevention worker at Logo Leieland.

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The survey also identified shows that young people are still missing in their municipality or city. This indicates that 1 out of every 3 young participants miss a meeting place. Therefore, providing enough space for young people in public places is also one of the challenges that emerged from the survey. In addition, Kzitermee.be advocates a policy in which young people are more involved.

“Through the survey, we can also conclude that the financial cost, the taboo that lurks in mental health problems, and the lack of knowledge of care institutions are major obstacles to seeking professional help. Initially, Kzitermee.be aims to prevent mental complaints by enhancing the resilience of young people. and breaking the taboo surrounding mental health.”

“If young people have a problem, this should be discussed within the social network, but if support from the close environment proves insufficient, they simply have to find a way to get appropriate help,” Lawrence concluded.

People who are having a hard time or know someone who is having a hard time visiting the website of www.kzitermee.be

Megan Vasquez

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