Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. That’s probably because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up.
Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
- being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
- having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors.
- being part of a family that gets along well most of the time.
- going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils.
- taking part in local activities for young people.
Other factors are also important, including:
- feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe.
- being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves.
- being hopeful and optimistic.
- being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed.
- accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at.
- having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community.
- feeling they have some control over their own life.
- having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.