Mental health is still a very misunderstood and emotive topic for many people. The truth is many of us have experience of or know someone who has a mental health issue. So why is it still a subject that is not talked about openly, despite its prevalence in society?
According to The Office for National Statistics in the UK (2005), 1 in 10 children and young people between the ages of 1 to 15 has a mental health disorder. So in a classroom of 30 children, 10 of them will be experiencing mental health difficulties at some point.
The link between mental health stigma and discrimination is a strong one. Dubai is populated by people from all over the world who have many differing opinions relating to mental health. Culture plays an important role in how we see mental illness and can be a barrier in seeking out help and support for young people and their families.
We know that young people who experience mental health issues can feel:
- Isolated from friends, family and peers. If it is a young person affected then school can feel like a very scary place and they may well avoid attending.
- Relationships with friends and family can be affected. Often loved ones are not aware of how to best support a young person with mental health issues. Parenting or family support can be invaluable for everyone joining up with the individual work with the young person.
- Stigma and discrimination can affect education, finding a job and long-term relationships.
- Sadly many people think that having a mental illness makes a person violent or aggressive, this is often a stereotype that is commonly perpetuated by the media. The truth is that the person affected is more likely to be attacked by another person or harm themselves rather than someone else.
- Stigma and discrimination can often delay people seeking help and worsen the problem. Early intervention according to the UK Government paper Every Child Matters (2003) is vital. It highlights the need to ensure that they receive the care and support needed as early as possible, keeping young people safe and protected, and the importance of a multi-disciplinary team to support the young person and their carers.
If you broke your arm or had a physical illness such as diabetes you would see a specialist, right? It should be the same for your mental health.
When the team at Camali were trying to think what to call the clinic, transparency was very important to us. We named ourselves Camali Clinic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for a reason – we want everyone who comes here to understand what we’re about! Our aim is to help everyone understand what mental health is, break down the barriers and challenge the misconceptions. Camali Clinic is a specialist service offering evidence based multi-disciplinary care, and the research is clear that young people respond to friendly and open environments and staff – which is what we hope our team has created.