A recent report states that young people today would suffer alone rather than face up to the stigma of admitting mental health issues linked to trauma.
A poll of 1,000 people in the United Kingdom aged 15 to 25 has found that almost two-thirds (66%) have either been through severe trauma or are currently experiencing it firsthand.
Furthermore, nearly one in ten (8%) of those questioned have never discussed it with someone who could help them. Those who did reach out took just over five months to ask for support and advice.
Notably, the study highlighted that seven in ten believe there is a stigma around issues like mental health, homelessness, abuse, and unexpected unemployment.
Community support networks
Together, the two charities behind the study have been raising funds to help organizations in local communities by providing safe social spaces, mentoring, employment, and social skills for young people.
Ahead of this year’s Red Nose Day event back in March, Strictly Come Dancing contestant and KISS Radio DJ, Tyler West, joined forces to tackle the stigma around these issues and shine a light on the support that is out there.
Speaking in support of the campaign behind the study, Tyler West said,
“I can relate to needing support and being afraid to ask for it, but I also know how much impact that support can have on a young person’s life. That is why the funding from Comic Relief and the KFC Foundation is so important – it translates into real life benefits for real people when they need it most.”
West continued by stating,
“This Red Nose Day, share a bucket, buy a bucket, or wear a bucket hat, and you can help make sure young people know they have somewhere to go.”
Reluctance in seeking help
For those who have yet to go through any serious issues, 59% claimed they would try and solve it themselves before getting help, with only 6% considering seeking help from local charities.
The most common concerns young people are likely to keep quiet about were mental health (38 %), debt trouble (34%), and struggles to find work (24%). These, in turn, could leave people feeling anxious (43%), worried (46%), and vulnerable (37%).
Yet 37% believe there is either not very much help or no help at all for younger people in these circumstances. While of the 53% who have known someone going through a crisis in their life, 42% said this person stayed quiet about it for “a long time.”
On the positive side, 52% of young Brits polled would consider going into a profession that helps young people deal with serious issues when they are older.
Focus on a single beneficiary
Based in Blackpool, UK, one of the organizations supported by the KFC Foundation and Comic Relief is Streetlife. This charity mentors, coaches, and advocates for homeless young people in the local community, helping them find their feet and a stable home so they can think about their future and take steps toward it.
Speaking about Streetlife, Kaitlyn, 19, a beneficiary of the charitable organization, told The Independent,
“I’ve been with Streetlife since November 2021 and have pretty much been with the project every day for the past year. We build bonds between people, and everyone gets to know each other, so it’s something I’m really grateful for. I believe that if more people spoke out about their experience and what they’ve been through, it would help make it easier for other people.”
There can be little doubt that readily accessible avenues of support are what’s needed to break down the barriers of stigma that many face, which prevents them from seeking help, possibly when they need it the most.
With greater inclusion and acceptance in the community, perhaps more young people will be encouraged to speak up and seek the help they may need. But this will not happen overnight, so the wheels need to be put in motion sooner rather than later.
What do you think of the research findings? What else must be done to encourage young people to open up more? Tell us more in the comments.