Poor housing, poverty, exam stress, consumer capitalism and gender expectations were all highlighted by Owen Jones yesterday as causes of the mental health crisis in children.

The article highlights that our experience of mental health and well-being is intimately connected with, if not determined by, our social conditions. It's easier to recognise this in children. As we become adults mental health is understood as an individual matter. This can be seen in the largely individualistic treatment approaches to mental health which conveniently deflects attention from its social aspect, and in our welfare system and media narratives which blame individuals for their situations: all the basic hallmarks of neoliberal ideology.

The reality is that the pressures, expectations, inequalities and divisions we experience throughout life inform how we view ourselves and our mental well-being. As we search for identity, meaning and value, we are taught that these can be found in adhering to social standards: be it achieving the perfect body or owning the latest iphone. The more we fall short of these, the more we suffer.

Of course, part of the problem is individualism itself and the alienation this leads to. As George Mombiot highlights, loneliness is at the root of many of our health and mental health problems. And research suggests that societies with strong and trusting communities tend to be happier.

Addressing the mental health crisis, therefore, needs to include actively developing social narratives which foreground values of empathy and community, providing greater possibility for identities, relationships and communities that support positive mental health and well-being. Schools seem like a good place to start...