There has been a lot in the news again recently about the mental health crisis amongst young people.
The number of young people suffering from mental health issues continues to rise at a worrying rate. Statistics I have read recently include increases in suicides, self-harming and more.
Something is going seriously wrong here and we need to really look at what it is and what can be done about it. Social media and technology get a lot of the blame but they can’t be the only reason this is happening.
Looking at the education-to-work system these days, I think this is an area we should be looking at.
When I was younger, you went to school, did your exams (without too much pressure laid on you) and then either went out and got a job or perhaps went on to university if you were academic enough. Nowadays, there is a lot more pressure.
I heard a college principal the other day telling a room full of 15-year-olds that getting straight A-grades was not good enough to make them stand out any more – they now have to also prove they are an interesting person by taking part in a huge range of extra-curricular activities from Duke of Edinburgh to volunteer work.
I also heard the parent of a 15-year-old say recently that their child is having a breakdown because they don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their life and they are worried about messing it up and making the wrong choices.
I also heard a university graduate recently say that following their degree, they will be expected to do a year’s unpaid internship in their chosen field of work just to be in with a chance of getting a job later on.
Maybe all this pressure about getting a fantastic set of exam results, going to a good university, being the most interesting person and having your life mapped out at 15 has got something to do with the mental health problems?