Understanding mental health – the younger, the better

Walk Tall is using the arts to challenge perceptions of mental health

Myth: It’s easy for young people to talk to friends about their feelings.

Fact: Nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems.

It’s why mental health charity Walk Tall has launched a new scheme (funded by Live Well Kent) to teach school pupils about the realities of mental ill health.

There is a theatre performance which explores the realities of mental health. The actors involved all have detailed knowledge of mental health conditions.

This is followed by a discussion with Walk Tall staff, including counsellors, a teacher, staff skilled in psychology and therapeutic services and the play’s artistic director.

Finally, the charity runs workshops that allow young people to better understand various mental health conditions, how they show and how they can feel.

Ann Duke, Walk Tall’s chief executive, says: “We aim to take the stigma out of mental health issues. We need to help young people recognise what their feelings mean and know that it’s okay to ask for support if they need it.

“If they learn to do this at a young age, they will avoid many of the negative consequences of mental ill health in adult life.”