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Mental Well Veing in Young People

  • 13 Pages
  • Published On: 06-11-2023
Introduction

Public health is mostly discussed in regards to improving the health of the people and not treating the various illnesses of individual people (Bradshaw 2016). It includes both the efforts to manage a disease and improve sanitation. However, the use of this term lays a lot of emphasis on policies to improve health conditions. There are five ways to mental wellness, these are; being active; taking notice; keeping on with learning; giving and connecting with others (Bonell et al. 2014). To address the issues mental wellness in young people, the government keeps on developing various new policies. One of these policies is the Wellbeing and Health Policy (Bernardes, et al., 2010). This paper lays emphasis on discussions around this policy. The paper gives a brief background information about the policy. The paper also critically evaluates the policy by identifying the strengths and weaknesses, while offering recommendations for improvement. This paper will look at how the policy has helped or failed at addressing the problems of the targeted group, which in this cases are the young people (14 to 24 years old).

How the government is working hard to improve the mental wellbeing of teenagers

There have been efforts to improve the provision of mental health support in schools (Kleen, 2015). The government has in recent years been engaging schools and providing them with the evidence-based advice of ways of delivering quality school-based counselling to the affected. Some stakeholders argue that there is need to teach mental health as a mandatory subject in schools (Giacco, et al., 2014).

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The government came up with a policy to make the general public have access to mental health services better and faster. The policy makes it a priority for the country to reduce the mental health of the public health service (George, et al., 2013). Through the policy about €400 million has been spent between 2011 and 2015 to offer access to psychological therapies (McGorry, Bates & Birchwood 2013).

Summary of Wellbeing and Health Policy

The policy developed by the government is known as the Wellbeing and Health policy. The policy outlines plans to improve the mental health and well-being of the children and teenagers while offering improved services to those facing mental problems (Gleen, 2017). The policy has six fundamental objectives:

To ensure many people have good mental health

To ensure that individuals with mental health problems recover

To ensure people with mental health gain an improved physical health

To ensure individuals have positive experiences of support and care

To reduce the number of people suffering from avoidable harm

To reduce cases of discrimination and stigma (Bradshaw, 2016)

The policy has made it a government priority to provide equal attention to both physical and mental health (Bradshaw 2016). The government is clear that it expects parity of esteem in physical health and mental health services. The government through the Children and Young people’s Mental Health and Wellbeing task force, study how to improve the mental health of children and adolescents. A report was published by the task force in which the task force outlined its plans to improve care (George, et al., 2013). The task force cited different ways of achieving this such as; improving links between schools and the practitioners, tackling stigmatisation, improving access to the services, developing "one stop shop" support service stations as well as improving access to the children and the young people (Steptoe, Deaton & Stone 2015) .

How the Policy is being implemented within the community and population

The government has held several workshops in a bid to popularise the policy. Through these workshop the various stakeholders such as the parents and guardians are englightened with proffessionals to ensure that they are aware of its principles (Bernardes, et al., 2010). The policy was gazzetted and made public. The media has also helped by facilitating public debate through hosying talk shows with the policy as the topic of discussion. Directives have been sent to schools to implement the policy since it is in these schools that the young people are mostly found. The directives sent to schools contains guidelines on what to do when handling children, particularlly the affected group.

Analysis of the policy

Great mental health, as well as resilience, are basic to an individual’s physical, health, education, training, and the relationship among others. The government made it clear that its success will be evaluated not just by developing a healthy economy but also on the basis of the well-being of the entire population (Giacco, et al., 2014). Additionally, mental health and wellbeing also bring about general social and economic benefits. There is a need for everyone to take responsibility for taking charge of their mental health and that of others. This would mean challenging the blight of discrimination and stigma. The government’s objective in any sector cannot be achieved without an improvement in mental health.

Under the policy, individuals working in mental health facilities are needed to have common goals and performance standards (Bradshaw 2016). Plans and funds to improve and support the workforce are some of the basic backups. Centres for mental health are keen on seeing more thoughts on the involvement of the minority special need and ethnic groups. The policy, just like many others, have their weak points as well as strong points. The strengths and weaknesses of this policy will be based on its ability to address the needs of the young people of ages 14 to 24 years.

Strengths

(Gleen, 2017), says that the policy puts mental health at the top of the agenda for both social and health care. The policy is comprehensive and based on evidence. The policy can set standards, indicators as well as outcomes of each of its strategy. It draws attention to links between mental illness and life adversities while offering ways of addressing both. Through the policy, primary care is placed at the centre of the system and insists on all time access to services. By just prioritising the mental health and wellness in young people, the policy can give the much-needed attention to this group (Bradshaw, 2016). Even if much may not be achieved, at least some ground will be gained regarding mental health and wellbeing.

Secondly, the policy directs that local agencies should share agendas (Giacco, et al., 2014). This will bring about both collaboration and flexibility among the clinicians and other stakeholders. Incorporation of care program approach together with care management will lead to better-coordinated care (Bradshaw 2016). The care program approach directs that qualified care providers are allocated to every person discharged from the psychiatric facility. The affected individuals must also be allocated a package of multi-disciplinary care. In managing the care, the service provider is expected to give arrangement for a range of services that can meet the needs of the patient (Steptoe, Deaton & Stone 2015). By bringing on boards various players, the policy will drastically improve the quality of the care being given. Also, a collaboration of different people will ensure that various conflicts that might occur can be addressed in totality.

The policy also promotes values like user choice, social inclusion, and care in the least restrictive setting among others (Kleen, 2015). These values appeal to both the service providers as well as the individuals affected (Bradshaw 2016). The service providers will get motivated to work, thus, offer quality services. Similarly, the patients (young people) will be encouraged to seek these services, and actively take part in the care process. Therefore, the policy has improved the quality of services as well as the patients’ trust in the car

The last strength is that the policy was developed using examples of good service models. The policy has also outlined some of the examples which make it easier to disseminate and apply them. This has improved the ease of offering the services.

The Weaknesses

The promotion of the mental health, prevention of discrimination as well as social inclusion rests with the health providers. Critiques argue that the problem with the policy is that it lacks a real delivery system to the broad public mental health agenda as well as the needed antidiscrimination measures. The critics believe that with time the social services may feel that the area is not within their mandate yet they are best placed to make an impact. By leaving the burden to the healthcare providers, the needs of the affected young people have not be addressed in totality (Steptoe, Deaton & Stone 2015).

The outlined primary care and access services are too ambitious. Spreading specialist services, like psychological therapies, to individuals with common mental health problems, while simultaneously helping patients with severe mental illness, may strain the limited resources. There are concerns regarding the encouragement of people in mental distress to use the NHS Direct. By increasing the tasks of the mental health providers and not increasing resources in equal measure, the policy has jeopardised the very key objective it intended to achieve, which is to improve the quality of service (Steptoe, Deaton & Stone 2015).

The standard set for dealing with severing mental illnesses are not only overambitious but are also expensive. Critics have questioned whether it is right for the policy to promote these standards and whether the emphasis on safety and risk is necessary. There are other facets of mental care including finance, housing, and employment (Steptoe, Deaton & Stone 2015). It is not appealing to the workers who are at the helm of the intervention when the policy fails to recognise them when the joined-up interventions are in action.

The policy addresses various potential leaver. However, there are some missing links. These links relate to the environmental as well as social issues. For instance, the school programs developed to prevent cases of bullying while increasing self-esteem; such as improving social network and parenting support among others; are associated with improved mental health, and so are participation in education and physical education (Bonell et al. 2014). Emphasising on the policy agenda so narrowly, therefore, results in a missed opportunity for broader health benefits. Despite the policy being in place, there is still an increase of about 10% in the number of individuals sectioned under the Mental Health Act. This shows that the requirements of the sick are not being met early enough. The high rate is a clear indication that the policy in place is not working, to some extent. In certain parts of the country, about 10% of children in need of help have their appointments with the practitioners cancelled or rescheduled due to a shortage of staff (Bonell et al. 2014). This is happening despite the fact that studies show that one in every ten young people have mental health problems that are diagnosable. This trend is not only a worrying one but is also a clear indicator of a failing policy, and something ought to be done soon enough.

The old and the new policy; their effectiveness and efficiency within the community and teenagers

Both the old and the new policies were all developed to improve the mental wellbeing and health of the general society. However, what varies in the old and the new policy are the principles and techniques of implementation. Unlike the previos policies, this policy seeeks to bring the stakeholders together in adressing matters health (George, et al., 2013). The policy provides for a corrdinated care by bringing about collaboration among the practitioners and other stakeholders, like parents, teachers and peers. Thus making it efficient and effective. Unlike the old policies, the Wellbeing and health Policy gives directives on how to manage the care. By bringing on boards various players, the policy will drastically improve the quality of the care being given. The new policy can be said to be more effective and efficient since it is an improvement from the previous policies.

Conclusion

The wellbeing measures for young people (14 to 24 years) involves asking the individuals how satisfied they are with their lives, whether they are happy or how satisfied they are with different domains like school, family, health, etc. Studies show that about 80% of young people in England are satisfied with their lives (Bonell et al. 2014). The same study shows that their wellbeing seems to be relatively stable within individuals of the same age group. Having reduced levels of wellbeing increases the chances of experiencing low levels of wellbeing in future (George, et al., 2013). The results of the studies also show disparities between girls and boys, and they become more pronounced as the age increases. What is coming out more clearly is the fact that individuals with lower levels of wellbeing tend to perform poorly in both schools and at the workplace.

Many health-related problems are potentially preventable, and the government has in its possession, powerful tools and resources that can positively influence the health of the population. Positive mental health influences the overall wellbeing and can be experienced when an individual realising his/her capabilities, cope with the normal challenges of life and make a fruitful contribution to the community (Bonell et al. 2014). Preventing the various common mental health challenges involves the application of the mental health promotion intervention in various settings. Mental health affects every person. Everybody has mental health the same way they have physical health. Individuals having a mental condition can experience positive mental health (Bonell et al. 2014). Similarly, an individual with no mental health can experience poor mental health. This is to say that it is not fixed. There are wide range of factors that can influence mental health, such as daily experiences, school environment, and workplace as well as social and economic factors shaping life.

Action can be taken to improve the mental health of individuals and the greater society. At the individual level and society level, the health promotion interventions emphasise on enabling individual’s empowerment and participation (George, et al., 2013). The interventions fundamentally aim at strengthening the factors that protect positive mental health and well-being, reduce the risk factors, and address social determinants of health. There are both complex and simple ways of dealing with mental health. One of the simple ways of dealing with mental health, in the school context, is by promoting exercises and co-curriculum activities. When young people are given an opportunity to play, they can connect with each other, feel a sense of belonging, and strengthen their relationships (Kleen, 2015). This would ultimately reduce cases of bullying which is a major factor preventing young people from having good mental health and well-being. In some schools, today, there are mental health advisers who are qualified mental health providers. These mental health providers can provide the much-needed attention to the vulnerable children. Such kinds of interventions, when adopted nationally, will drive the mental health and well-being of the young people to greater lengths. It would be wrong to say that the government is not doing anything. Of course, the government is also putting forward strategies aimed at addressing the mental health issue. The mental health and well-being policy by the government are very appealing on paper. Its application has recorded some level of success. However, the policy still has certain areas that need improvement. When these areas and gaps are addressed, the policy will be able to realise its goal, which is to improve the mental health and well-being of individuals. Just like before, the government can come up with a taskforce that can comprehensively review the policy in its practical form so as to identify its weak points. The taskforces should be made up of key stakeholders such as teachers, parents and the students.

Recommendations

Since the country is aspiring to be a leader in development and implementation of health research, the relevant department should work together with other stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive research and produce a report that sets out new strategies for mental health research (McGorry, Bates, & Birchwood 2013). The report should have a coordinated plan for improving and developing the research outline for the identified priorities as well as promote the implementation of research findings. In a nutshell, more research still needs to be done to obtain the various ways through which the policy can be altered or improved to ensure that it does what it was set out to do.

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The government should review the Act in its current form and revise it in parts so as to ensure that there is protection of individuals’ autonomy, and improved scrutiny, as well as protection where the thoughts of the people with mental capacity to make health-related decisions, may be discriminated to enforce an intervention that is against their will (McGorry, Bates & Birchwood 2013). The health department should come up with metrics to support improvements in the mental health outcomes of the young people, obtaining data sources from the entire health system. Another recommendation is that the government should increase funding to specific areas. For instance, a lot of funding is needed to train and employ more practitioners who will, in turn, serve the needs of the young people. Teachers can also undergo advanced training to enable them also to offer the needed help to the vulnerable individuals they interact with in school. Funding can also help in building infrastructures such as “one stop shop” for mental health where all mental health services are offered. Also to ensure that the practitioners are not strained, their services can be specialised so that every one of them offers a specific type of service to ensure quality (McGorry, Bates & Birchwood 2013).

References

Bernardes, D. et al., 2010. Asylum Seekers’ Perspectives on their Mental Well Being and

Views on Health and Social Services: Contributions for Service Provision Using a Mixed-Methods Approach, New York : Oxford Press.

Bonell, C., Humphrey, N., Fletcher, A., Moore, L., Anderson, R. and Campbell, R., 2014. Why schools should promote students’ health and wellbeing. Bmj, 348(7958), p.g3078.

Bradshaw, J., 2016. The Wellbeing of Children in the UK. Policy Press.

Department of Health (UK), 6th Feb 2014. The wellbeing and Health Policy. Web: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-and-health-policy

George, A., Meadows, P. & Rolfe, H. M. a. H., 2013. Impact of social life on the well being of people, London: s.n.

Giacco, D., Matanov, A. & Priebe, S., 2014. The importance of Providing mental care , Chicago: s.n.

Gleen, J., 2017. Atlasti: The basics of Mental well being. [Online] Available at: http://atlasti.com/quantitative-vs-qualitative-research/ [Accessed February 2017].

Kleen, B., 2015. Mental Well-being Review: Landscape Paper, Chicago: Adventure Word press.

McGorry, P., Bates, T. and Birchwood, M., 2013. Designing youth mental health services for the 21st century: examples from Australia, Ireland and the UK. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 202(s54), pp.s30-s35.

Steptoe, A., Deaton, A. and Stone, A.A., 2015. Subjective wellbeing, health, and ageing. The Lancet, 385(9968), pp.640-648.


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