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Introduction to adolescent mental health

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Introduction to adolescent mental health
Introduction to adolescent mental health

Research indicates that throughout the world, young people’s mental health and wellbeing is at risk. Indeed, media headlines warn of a global mental health crisis. In 2020, the Children’s Society reported that one in six children aged between 5 and 16 years of age globally suffer from a mental health problem. 50% of all mental health problems begin by the age of 14 and 75% of young people with a mental health problem are not receiving the help and support they need. 

Recognising that a young person is struggling with their mental health may not be easy to identify. Many young people may attempt to hide how they are feeling. This can be for a multitude of reasons including concern about stigma or feelings of guilt and shame associated with mental illness. However, it may also be because they aren’t sure where or how to get the help they need. 

There are differences of opinion about what constitutes mental ill health and how mental health problems should be treated.  There are some key differences in the approaches that can be taken in providing support for young people, for example at times it can include the use of medication, counselling and talking therapies. However, research indicates that providing early support can significantly enhance mental health. Recent studies also suggest that resilience – which describes the capacity to endure and bounce back from adversity – is a quality and skill that can be developed and supported in young people, and that it can positively impact their longer-term mental health and wellbeing. 

This course has been designed with this new research evidence in mind. It aims to provide you with the tools to explore these different approaches which will help you reflect on the different ways that you can identify a young person who is struggling and consider how they can access support.

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end-of-course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

Introduction to adolescent mental health

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the complexity and multifaceted nature of adolescent mental health
  • appreciate the variety of strategies that can be employed to support young people
  • recognise resilience as a quality and skill that can be learned and developed
  • identify resilience markers that can be supported and nurtured
  • identity the range of services and contexts through which young people can access support and guidance.

First Published: 21/12/2021

Updated: 21/12/2021

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Course content

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