The following column is written by Nicky Ferry, a training development manager at Gloucestershire Counselling Service in Stroud.

The state of young people’s mental health is currently a very hot topic and so it should be.

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that we are facing a crisis.

Alarming numbers of children are living with unacceptably high levels of anxiety, depression and resulting mental health conditions.

Every day there is a disturbing story decrying the poor mental state of our children.

According to Wise Up report by Young Minds 90% of school leaders have reported an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety or stress in the last five years and a recent YouGov/MQ survey reports that more than half of school children that were surveyed linked mental illness with isolation and alienation.

Not only are we failing to provide enough support and resources to address the problem, we are not thinking widely enough.

I would argue that our children are getting more anxious and unhappy because everyone is - both nationally and globally.

Given that children tend to be more sensitive with less well-developed defence mechanisms than adults, they effectively act as barometers.

Young people are not becoming less mentally well in isolation – they are part of families, peer groups, schools, communities and cultures - and they have increasing access and sensitivity to global issues and crises.

Clearly a child suffering with any mental health issue needs to be supported and they need to be viewed in the context of their environment.

If a ‘difficult’ or unhappy child is viewed and labelled as ‘the problem’, in the very worst cases punished, rejected or humiliated for their state, then of course their mental health is going to decline yet further.

The child will feel more ‘wrong’, alone and despairing.

They will potentially turn to negative behaviours such as self-harming, bullying, addiction or even suicide.

And tragically the real causes of their unhappiness may well never be addressed.

By viewing the child in the context of the whole, a larger perspective opens up and importantly more resources, solutions and support can become available.

Jane Chase is new head of child & family counselling at GCS, contact her if your child or family is struggling: 01453 766 310