There is a mental health crisis affecting children and young people in the UK. On average, three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition, while many more go through periods where they feel anxious or overwhelmed.
Sadly, recent research suggests that problems may be getting worse. The number of children arriving in A&E with a mental health problem has more than doubled since 2010, while 90% of senior teachers say that they've seen a rise in anxiety and depression over the last five years.
Just last week, the Millennium Cohort Survey suggested that almost a quarter of girls and one in ten boys show symptoms of depression at the age of 14. Mental health problems in university are also rising, with five times more students disclosing conditions than was the case ten years ago.
Many factors can influence mental health. We know that young people face a range of pressures, including stress at school, college or university, body image issues, bullying, and the pressures created by social media. Difficult experiences in childhood – like bereavement or domestic violence – can also have a serious impact, often several years down the line.
To make matters worse, it can be extremely difficult for those who are struggling with their mental health to get professional help. Because it's so hard to get treatment in some areas, problems can grow more severe. All too often, we hear from young people who have started to self-harm or dropped out of school during the long wait for treatment.
At YoungMinds, we work with young activists and families to campaign on mental health. Together we make the case for political change, we work to improve services, and we raise awareness in schools, at events and online about how to look after yourself. We also run a parents' helpline, which offers support to any adult who's worried about the behaviour or mental health of a young person.
But we need your support. Having a mental health problem can be extremely isolating, and we want to spread the message that, if you're struggling to cope, you're not alone.
On World Mental Health Day – 10th October – we are calling on people up and down the country to say #HelloYellow: we want you to wear something yellow, and to share a mental health message to show support for those who are struggling with their mental health.
Across the country, hundreds of schools and businesses, as well as thousands of people of all ages, will take part in #HelloYellow, standing alongside young people with mental health problems and raising money to support our work.
We'd be delighted if you are able to join us. To find out more about #HelloYellow, go to youngminds.org.uk/helloyellow