Table of contents

Who is at risk and why

Background papers: children :: Emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people [Update in progress] :: Who is at risk and why

Resilience has been defined as “the human capacity to face, overcome and be strengthened by life's adversities and challenges”.[1] Learning emotional resilience can increase the range of strategies available to us to cope with challenges. Factors known to promote resilience against the development of MH problems have been located within the child, the family and in the wider community. These include having secure early relationships, good communication skills, family support for education, a wider social network and good housing. Deterioration of these factors, even during the pre-conception or pre-natal periods, is a risk to future emotional and MH.[2]

Specific groups of children and young people at higher risk of developing MH conditions include: looked after children (LAC); those with special educational needs (SEN); those within the Youth Justice System; young carers; the physically disabled; migrants; Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Groups; children exposed to adverse early experiences, e.g., domestic abuse, parental substance misuse, sexual exploitation, bullying, parent/carer with mental illness; and those from deprived socio-economic backgrounds.


[1]   What works in building resilience 2004;
[2]   Organisation WH. Risks to mental health: an overview of vulnerabilities and risk factors. background paper by WHO secretariat for the devleopment of a comprehensive mental health action plan 2012;