World Mental Health Day is a time that has been set aside each year since 1992 to celebrate and promote global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. The initiative is run by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global organisation, which now has members and contacts in excess of 150 countries. Each year focuses on a different aspect of mental health, and since 1992, the focus has included the link between mental health and eating with family and friends, mindfulness, depression, and how to take a proactive approach to your personal wellbeing. This year, World Mental Health Day will take place on Wednesday 10th October and the focus will be Young people and mental health in a changing world.
Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are times of many different life changes, which can challenge a person's ability to cope with life. Changing schools, new relationships, leaving home and starting work can be exciting times, but can also create stress and apprehension. One of these challenges alone is unlikely to cause a major long-term problem, but multiple challanges, coupled with exam pressure and fear of the future can lead to severe anxiety, which if left unmanaged, can lead to mental health problems. Many young people around the world are living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies, conflict, natural disaster and epidemic, and those in a more stable environment are bombarded by polital and social pressures to be and think in certain ways. Young people are more likely to try to change themselves in order to fit in with their environment and this can distort their sense of self and break down their resilience.
Half of all long term mental illness starts before the age of 14
Life events can affect and change us all, but younger people and children tend not to be armed with the resilience and personal skills to deflect the pressures that life challenges can bring. They are more likely to need guidance and support through difficult times and reassurance that things will be OK. In the past, when as human beings we operated in stronger and more structures communities, young people tended to have large familial and social networks in which to share their troubles, but the modern way is to share on social media, a medium devoid of all personal human interaction and showing a distorted view of 'normal life'. Most people accept that people mostly only share their best pictures and most enjoyable experiences surrounded with words of positivity and celebration, and this can give the impression to a young person that everyone around them is having a better time than them, making them feel like they are failing at life. Although many social media apps have age limitations, these can be easily circumnavigated and many children as young as 8 are operating in an adult online world.
Resilience is prevention
There is a growing recognition of the importance of building and child's resilience from an early age in order to be able to cope with the pressures of the ever changing world around them, There is growing evidence that protecting adolescent health brings social, economic and societal long-term benefits as the adults they become contribute in a positive way to their workforces, families and communities as a whole. Resilience is about building self-esteem and confidence to cope by:
- Seeing problems as exciting challenges rather than insurmountable hurdles
- Accepting and embracing change as part of everyday life
- Identifying goals and taking decisive action to move towards them
- Looking for new experiences and opportunities for self-discovery
- Maintaining a measured view and keeping situations in perspective relative to the rest of the world
- Nurturing a positive view of yourself whilst remaining realistic and accepting of flaws
- Maintaining hope and positivity for the future
Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counselling can support all those over the age of 16 in the following areas:
- Individual counselling support at affordable rates for all
- Mental health awareness training and workshops for groups
- Stress management for groups
- Bereavement and trauma support for individuals and groups
If you would like to speak to us about how we can help you to support the your children and young people in your community, contact our Business Development Manager to discuss our resilience training workshops for young people.
We help you to support those who rely on you.
If you need counselling support contact our nearest reception
Cambridge 01223 233047 Peterborough 01733 553166
Your employer may choose to fund your sessions for you, They should contact bdm@cambridgeshirecounselling,org.uk