Mental Health Amongst The Young
Mental health has featured in the news a lot recently with reports of the alarming rise in mental illness among the young. We are only just beginning to appreciate the pressures children are under in school and university and as they grow towards adulthood, with many situations being overwhelming for a young person trying to make sense of the world.
Data collated by the MindEd Trust shows that half of all mental illness first occurs before the age of 14. Three quarters is established before the end of higher education. Yet there is little or no provision for recognising young people under stress and reaching out to them before they become ill. Only 6% of the mental health budget is spent on young people, and only 3% of the national medical research budget is spent on mental health.
Far too many of the young people concerned go on to take their own lives, and my job is often to represent grieving families at the inquest, and then again perhaps later in a civil claim.
It’s easy to see why families so often feel they have to go to the law for explanations and apologies for what happened to their loved ones. One of our cases here at Ashtons Legal involved a young man who had already threatened suicide and was assessed as high risk. But it was more than two weeks after that first diagnosis before the NHS trust concerned got around to contacting him – by letter – proposing he attend a meeting a whole month after that…During that time he sadly took his own life.
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Sharon is an accredited senior litigator for The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and has extensive experience of the Coroner’s Court and the Inquest process.