Shocking results of our young people and mental health survey (with links to support)

Recently my friend and fellow nature-lover, Shannon Spencer who is 23, put out a short anonymous mental health survey on her social media. 39 people answered, and most were between age 17 and 25. The results were concerning…

I wanted to share with you some of the results and signpost to some resources to help.

I lived with mental ill-health from childhood until my early 20s, and then have had a couple of periods of anxiety and depression during adulthood too. I’ve also supported my own children with their own mental health struggles through teenage years. So am particular keen to support teens and young adults, who often feel very isolated when it comes to seeking help.

The results of the survey

Feeling anxious

We asked people “Could you describe in one word an emotion you most commonly feel?”

The most common answer was:

Anxious 31%

And when we specifically asked about anxiety 82% of respondents said they felt anxious quite a lot or all the time

Feelings of emptiness

We didn’t have a specific question for this but for the question “Could you describe in one word an emotion you most commonly feel?” we had the following answers:

lost, mediocre, nothing, empty, numb, overwhelmed, sad, underwhelmed, apathetic, confused

Low moods

When we asked how often people experienced low moods

85% responded with quite a lot or all the time

Loneliness

62% of people responded that they felt lonely quite a lot or all the time

Feeling lost

67% of people responded that they felt lost quite a lot or all the time

What makes things worse?

We asked people what the felt made their feelings worse. The answers were very diverse:

Not eating healthily, lack of sleep, alcohol, social media, and being inside figured highly. Many people also mentioned being alone, (although 4 people said that being with other people made things worse).

What makes things better?

54% of people said that being in nature improved their feelings.

Other things that improved things were:
Eating healthy
Getting more sleep
Less social media time
Being around friends
Being around family
Exercising
Meditation/mindfulness

One person commented that the lighter evenings had improved their mood.

What about the more comfortable feelings?

10% of people answered that the one word that described their feelings was Happy – good news right? But those same people went on to score highly on the other four questions – high anxiety, low mood, loneliness, and lost.

In fact only one person out of 39 answered happy and then said they experienced anxiety, low mood, loneliness or lost as rarely or never.

If you’re feeling any of the above moods:

It’s important to get support and help, and this comes in various forms:

  • help in a crisis
  • professional help from your GP or a counsellor
  • self-help
  • help from friends and family

Sources of information

MIND is a very good source of information on a wide variety of mental health issues, from age 11 onwards.

Help in a crisis

If you feel like your life is at risk, or if you have seriously harmed yourself, please call 999 immediately as this is an emergency.

If you need medical help but can keep yourself safe for a while, call ‘NHS 111’ by dialing 111

There are local NHS Crisis Supports. In Derbyshire you can call The Derbyshire NHS Mental Health Crisis number: 0800 028 0077

If you need someone impartial and anonymous to talk to, please call The Samaritans: 116 123

All numbers operate on a 24/7 basis.

Professional help

Make an appointment to see your GP. They will be able to understand your health concerns and advise you on how to access the most appropriate mental health service in your area.

There are various options such as medications and talking therapies. GP-led social prescribing operates in some areas where you will be signposted to various activities too.

In some areas (for example Derby) you can self-refer to counselling services, such as Trent PTS. These are funded by the NHS so are free. There many different types of counselling depending on what the issues are.

Seeking information

Gaining accurate information about mental health is important. Here are some trusted internet sources:

NHS

MIND

Young Minds

Helping yourself

There are lots of things you can do yourself to help your mood. Often quite simple things can make a difference, like getting outside more, eating healthily and getting more sleep. But that doesn’t mean that they are easy to do when you’re feeling low, so try to avoid blaming-yourself if there are days you don’t feel like doing much. Helping yourself can be easier if you talk to others about how you are feeling and seek their support.

Seeking support from friends and family

Seek help from people that are close to you and tell them how you feel. Sometimes other people don’t know how to help so you may have to ask them to look at websites such as MIND which have lots of information on helping other people. We can often feel like a burden, but in fact when we have the courage to come forward we discover that many other people are feeling the same.

Helping someone else

If you want to help someone else there are lots of things you can do:

Learn to recognise a mental health crisis and what to do in an emergency (call 999 or 111) and how to keep yourself and the other person safe.

Encourage them to seek professional help

Learn how best to talk to someone about their mental health (but don’t shy away from talking because you’re worried you might ‘get it wrong’).

Help them to access other support services, such as Derbyshire Mind’s Green Connections Days. There are activities of all kinds, everywhere, that support people with their mental health.

MIND is has some resources here.

Consider doing the Mental Health First Aid Training (I did and would highly recommend it).

Help from Think like a Tree for young people and their mental health

We have a FREE one-day Wellbeing Experience Day on 24 April at Whistlewood Common, Melbourne, south Derbyshire for age 18 – 25 years. Book your free place here.

I am part of the Green Connections Team offering FREE days in nature at Whistlewood Common in Melbourne, south Derbyshire one a month. This is a partnership between Wellbeing at Whistlewood and Derbyshire Mind. To book your free place click here.

And if you are any age Think like a Tree’s courses, workshops and books can help support your mental health.

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