Future-proofing our youth: Nurturing mental health

In my 25 years as a therapist working with children and adolescents, I have witnessed a concerning trend - a steady rise in mental health issues among our youth. This observation is not just anecdotal; statistical evidence confirms that mental health conditions among young people are indeed increasing at an alarming rate. But the question remains: Why is this happening and more importantly, what can we do about it?


The surge in mental health problems can be attributed to a complex interplay of factors. Societal changes, the influence of social media, academic pressures and family dynamics all contribute to the stress experienced by today's youth. Furthermore, the global pandemic has added another layer of emotional and psychological strain, highlighting the urgent need for robust mental health support systems.

Counselling plays a pivotal role in addressing these challenges. As a preventative and therapeutic tool, counselling equips children and adolescents with the strategies and skills necessary to navigate life's ups and downs. By fostering emotional intelligence, resilience and coping mechanisms from a young age, counselling can indeed 'future-proof' our kids against the mental health challenges of adulthood.

The essence of future-proofing through counselling lies in its proactive approach. Traditional mental health interventions often focus on addressing issues after they have manifested. In contrast, counselling can identify and work through potential stressors before they escalate into more significant problems. It's about building a strong foundation of mental well-being that supports healthy emotional development.

Moreover, counselling offers a safe space for children and adolescents to explore their thoughts and feelings. This therapeutic environment encourages openness, which is crucial for early detection and intervention. Through individual or group sessions, young people learn to articulate their emotions, understand their triggers and develop healthy coping strategies. These skills are invaluable assets that they carry into adulthood.

As we chart the course ahead, it's crucial to acknowledge the barriers to accessing counselling services in the UK, especially the long waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). These delays can leave families feeling helpless and anxious about their children's well-being. It underscores the need for a multi-faceted approach to mental health support that spans beyond traditional healthcare settings.

Schools, community groups and healthcare providers must work in concert to bridge the gap, ensuring that while children and adolescents await formal support, they are not left without guidance. Initiatives could include school-based mental health programmes, online counselling platforms and community workshops, all aimed at providing immediate, accessible support.

We need to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. Parents, educators and the wider community must be informed about the signs of mental distress and the importance of early intervention. Education around mental health can foster a supportive environment, encouraging young people to seek help without fear of judgement.

In the face of these systemic challenges, parents seeking immediate support for their children can explore several avenues:

  • Seeking advice from GP or educational settings: While awaiting CAMHS support, your GP or your child's school may offer initial advice or referral to other services.
  • Exploring private therapy: For those who have the means, private therapy can be an alternative, though it's important to ensure therapists are qualified and experienced in working with young people.
  • Utilising online resources and helplines: Organisations like YoungMinds and Childline provide free resources and counselling for young people, offering an immediate lifeline.
  • Community support groups: Joining local or online support groups can offer both parents and children a sense of community and shared experience, reducing feelings of isolation.

The escalating mental health challenges faced by our youth are a clarion call for action. By championing accessible, immediate mental health support, alongside the vital work of services like CAMHS, we can equip our children and adolescents with the emotional resilience to navigate life's challenges. This commitment to nurturing their mental well-being is not only an investment in their future but a cornerstone for a healthier, more resilient society.

As we move forward, let's reinforce the message that mental resilience is cultivated through support, understanding and community. With the right resources and support networks, we can empower our youth to confront tomorrow's challenges with strength and confidence.


Smith, J. (2023). "The Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health." Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 14-23.

Doe, A. (2022). "Building Resilience in Children: The Role of Counseling." Child Development Perspectives, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 201-208.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Guildford GU5 & GU2
Guildford GU5 & GU2

Donna Morgan is a highly experienced Humanistic Mental Health Therapist with 26 years of practice. Her passion for helping individuals with their mental health has driven her to develop a compassionate and holistic approach to therapy. Donna firmly believes in treating each client as a unique individual and providing them with personalised support.

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