Teenagers to be trained in school to help friends deal with mental health issues

The government reckons #YoungMindsMatter

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Teenagers to be trained in school to help friends deal with mental health issues
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It's not very often we cover news that doesn't involve a celebrity's crotch or someone's shiny hair, but today the government announced something pretty great that might just make you do a dance in your chair. 

Thousands of teenagers across England are set to receive training to help them spot the signs of mental health issues amongst their friends, which is pretty ace isn't it?

These new 'peer support networks' as the politicians have called 'em, will be set up in schools across the country in an effort to try and encourage young people to reach out for help when they need it.

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According to Buzzfeed, the newly supportive system could be in the form of buddy-up schemes, group sessions with trained support, or even online spaces where you'll safely be able to share any worries you might have.

On Wednesday the Department for Education said that it wants YOU to tell them the best way to make this all work, as they've made £1.5 million available to help get the scheme up and running.

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Education secretary Nicky Morgan said: "The truth is that the people who best understand the pressures that young people face are their classmates and friends. They're the ones that spot the tell-tale signs that their friends are experiencing problems, and the people to whom children are most likely to turn for support."

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Meanwhile, there's even MORE good news when it comes to tackling mental health thanks to blow dry queen and all round good egg, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

She's been writing as a guest editor this week on the Huffington Post website, launching a series called Young Minds Matter to focus on the psychological well-being of children and help combat things at a much earlier age.

It makes perfect sense when you read the (not so fun) facts:

  • 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year. 
  • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
  • But 10% of children up to age 16 have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
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"We hope to encourage George and Charlotte to speak about their feelings," K-Middy wrote. "And to give them the tools and sensitivity to be supportive peers to their friends as they get older. We know there is no shame in a young child struggling with their emotions or suffering from a mental illness."

It's SO great to see such positive steps being taken to mental health actually being dealt with properly, rather than just brushed under the carpet. Let us know what you make of all this with a tweet to @Sugarscape.

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