NINE IN 10 YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE US ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR MENTAL HEALTH, FINDS SURVEY

“It's important that particularly young people, but actually everybody knows that everyone breaks. That it’s sort of part of life. That what you have to do at that point is acknowledge it and get help, if you’re lucky enough to be able to get that help. There is no shame in admitting that you can’t cope…ultimately there’s nothing to feel ashamed about. I think particularly with men there is a big feeling that you shouldn’t have these emotions and that you should be able to cope and you should be able to man up…men do have to acknowledge their emotions and they do have to talk about and it’s okay to cry, because you’re a human being.” - Kira Knightley

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Six in 10 of people surveyed admitted to struggling with mental health issues

Katie O'Malley, Independent

Nine in 10 young people in the US are concerned about their mental health, according to a national survey.

Conducted by consulting firm Benenson Strategy Group on behalf Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, researchers undertook at 2,082 online interviews with 13-24 year olds from 28 January to 2 February 2019.

Nearly all those surveyed (88 per cent) said that mental health is a priority concern for them, but one in three felt they lacked reliable access to mental health resources.

The study found that 15 per cent of people said they discuss their mental health “often”, while almost half (49 per cent) admitted to “rarely” or “never” discussing the topic, and more than half (55 per cent) said they were stressed.

Meanwhile, a third (34 per cent) stated they felt helpless or sad frequently in the month prior to taking part in the survey, with a similar percentage of participants (30 per cent) admitting to feeling fearful.

“This survey is a clear and urgent demonstration that young people care about their mental health but they are struggling,” says Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta, who is the co-founder and president of Born This Way Foundation.

“They want to learn skills, access tools, and find services that would help them cope with the very real challenges they face but don’t know where to turn – and that has to change.”

As for LGBTQ+ members involved in the study who admit to discussing mental health, almost two thirds (60 per cent) said they talk about the subject with friends and 43 per cent discuss it with parents/guardians.

By comparison, 57 per cent of non LGBTQ+ participants said they open up about their mental health with the latter group. 

More than half (57 per cent) of all people surveyed said they didn’t feel they had access to mental health resources to cope with online harassment, dropping only slightly to 48 per cent for those who felt ill-equipped to deal with suicide.

"Surveys like this, both in the UK and in the US, highlight just how far we’ve come in the public understanding of mental health," Enda Egan, head of young people’s programme at Mental Health UK, tells The Independent.

"The rapid growth we’ve seen in this area has resulted in conversations everywhere, shining a light on a topic that used to be taboo."

As a result, Egan warns that while increased awareness of mental health issues is positive, "the flip side of this is that demand for mental health support far outstrips what’s available".

"We need to equip young people with the skills and knowledge required to protect their wellbeing," he adds. 

Born This Way Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded in 2012 founded by Lady Gaga and her mother.

According to the foundation’s website, the organisation is “committed to supporting the wellness of young people and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world”.

To celebrate the foundation’s seven year anniversary, the organisation teamed up with the National Council for Behavioural Health to launch the US’ first ever Teen Mental Health First Aid training program earlier this month.

The program, which will debut in spring in eight schools across the country, will be taught to students (grades 10 through 12, which is the equivalent of Year 11 to Year 13 in the UK) and focus on such issues as anxiety, depression, substance use, and eating disorders.

The initiative has currently raised over $17,000 (£15,000) of its $20,000 (£17,700) target since a Facebook fundraiser launched on 1 March.

Last month, Lady Gaga - who recently became the first person in history to win OscarGrammyBafta and Golden Globe in one year - shed light about the importance of addressing the stigma surrounding mental health.

“If I don't get another chance to say this, I just want to say I'm so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues,” she told the audience at the Grammys 2019.

“A lot of artists deal with that. And we gotta take care of each other. So, if you see somebody that's hurting, don't look away. And if you're hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody and take them up in your head with you."

According to research from King’s College London, as many as two thirds (67 per cent) of pregnant women aged 16 to 24 in the UK met the criteria for a mental health condition, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

For confidential support with mental health you can contact The Samaritans on their free, 24-hour phone support by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org.

You can also contact mental health charity Mind by calling 0300 123 3393, texting 86463 or emailing info@mind.org.uk.