Data Reveals Which Leicestershire Age Group Is Most Likely To Have Experienced A Common Mental Health Disorder 

26% of 16-24 year old females in Leicestershire have experienced a common mental health disorder according to data – more than any other female age group in the county – and is higher in comparison to the age group’s male counterparts which stands at just over 9% prevalence. 

The female age group in Leicestershire with the lowest prevalence of a diagnosed mental health disorder was the over 75’s, at 10%. Within the male Leicestershire population, it was also the over 75’s with the lowest percentage, with just 5% experiencing a common mental health disorder.

Dr Asiya Maula, Director and GP at Leicester’s The Health Suite said: “Poor mental health in young people is on the rise. This could be for various reasons, such as pressures from social media to look or act a certain way, struggling with education, or a poor home environment, and financial or work stress. 

“Here are a few signs to look out for in young people that could mean they are struggling with their mental health. Not all of these signs will definitely mean that someone close to you is experiencing poor mental health, but if they are out of character and if this persists for a prolonged period of time, it is worth encouraging them to open up about how they’re feeling and seek support.”   

Changes in behaviour and mood

Mental health conditions can change the way that people think, feel, and behave in a variety of ways. Depression is a mental health condition that can lead to persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of motivation. Individuals with depression may lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, have difficulty with their memory or sleeping, and experience changes in appetite.  

Difficulty with daily tasks

When someone is struggling with their mental health, they may experience symptoms such as fatigue, lack of motivation, and difficulty concentrating which can make even simple tasks seem overwhelming. For example, a young person with depression may find it challenging to get out of bed in the morning for school, study for upcoming tests, or complete homework assignments. 

Dr Maula added: “When speaking to your children about any potential struggles, let them know that their struggles are valid and that you understand so that they feel heard. Explain to your child that it can be normal for people to sometimes feel low in mood or anxious which is nothing to be ashamed of. This will help to reduce the stigma around mental health. You can then work with your child to set achievable goals, break tasks into smaller steps, practice self-care and seek support from close family and friends or schools/ workplaces when needed. ”

Social withdrawal

Mental health conditions can lead to negative thinking patterns, such as believing that others will judge or reject them if they confide in a friend, which can discourage social interaction. Someone with social anxiety may worry excessively about being scrutinised or embarrassed in social situations, leading them to stop enjoying social events or attending.

Over time, social withdrawal can exacerbate mental health difficulties, as social support is one of the most important factors in maintaining good mental health. Without the support of close family and friends, a person may feel even more isolated and alone, which can worsen symptoms of mental health concerns.

“If your child is usually a social butterfly with lots of friends at school”, says Dr Maula, “and they then become more reclusive and stop spending time with friends then it’s a good idea to ask them how they’re feeling to encourage them to open up. There could be something going on at school, such as bullying, for which they will need support whilst it is  addressed.”

Uncharacteristic behaviour

When someone is struggling with mental health difficulties, they may become uncharacteristic in their behaviour as a way to cope with their emotions, this can involve self-harming or becoming involved with people who are a negative influence on them. It is important to be aware of uncharacteristic behaviour in young people and the link to mental health so help can be sought when necessary. 

Photo by Andrew Neel

Dluxe Magazine Leicester

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