Health chiefs in Northamptonshire are focusing on young people on Mental Health Awareness Day after surveys revealed more than half have experienced depression.
A recent survey undertaken by the county's Talk Out Loud programme showed 46 percent of youngsters believe society does not understand their mental health needs.
One-third of respondents said they were less happy than they were last year citing school stresses and lockdown as the biggest contributing pressures.
The survey also identified that 82 percent of young people have experienced stress, 62 percent anxiety and 54 percent depression.
To help, Northamptonshire schools will be taking part in Mental Health Awareness Day on Friday (February 11) with the the theme 'it's inside that counts'.
Programme manager Tessa Parkinson said: "Our survey has identified that a high percentage of young people have mental health needs and that, in many cases, they do not feel are understood.
“Mental Health Awareness Day is an annual event which is very firmly embedded in the school calendar.
"Our theme this year has been designed to help young people, and the people in their lives understand that it’s the inside that matters.
"Unlike physical health, you cannot always see when someone’s mental health needs help or support because how we look and how we present ourselves to the outside world is not really how we are feeling.
"Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
“All schools have been provided with resources — including wristbands for every young person in Northamptonshire with the slogan 'talk out loud about mental health'.
Schools will also encourage students to write about their mood and post in ‘feelings boxes’ that will be gathered together from across the county to get across the message that it’s the inside that matters.
Lucy Wightman, director of Public Health Northamptonshire says: “Children have dealt with a series of changes for nearly two years — to their education, leisure time, to their ability to socialise with their peers or see extended family.
"Many have shown amazing resilience but others, as shown by the young people's responses to this survey, have understandably struggled.
“Poor mental health affects not only our youngsters social well being, but can also impact on their physical health which is why Public Health Northamptonshire is committed to a range of
sources of help for young people.
"Not only in schools through the Talk Out Loud programme, but also through access to additional support services, including counselling, through the Reach Partnership“So I’m asking Northamptonshire adults to use the theme of ‘it's the inside that that matters’ to start a conversation with youngsters about mental health. Every young person
across the county should have the opportunity to achieve good mental health and wellbeing."