Life can be hard for everyone, young or old. However, in Scotland, mental health issues can be especially serious for teens, feeling greater levels of stress than any other age group.
This isn’t just country-specific; The American Psychological Association recently reported that people in their teenage years are struggling with stress much more commonly than adults did during their school years.
These findings show that today’s stresses are taking an obvious toll on the mental health of today’s teenagers. But what can we do about it? If you are you passionate about mental health awareness and want to make an impact but aren’t sure how, then read on.
To help combat the mental health issues today’s teenagers are facing, we’ve created a list of factors that may help reduce the fight against mental health problems.
Encourage people to talk
You may hear this being said many times over, but talking about mental health is the first starting point to breaking it down. If you work with teenagers, have teenagers or your own or are commonly around this age group, encourage them to open up and talk about their feelings.
This can sometimes be a difficult one to get started, but the easiest way to get into this is to genuinely ask teens how they are and mean it. Be ready to listen to their answers and encourage them to provide deeper insights.
Ask them questions and remember to never judge. It’s about having an open ear, encouraging today’s youths to talk and not to keep feelings bottled up.
Share your story
Many of us have had our own experiences with poor mental health or have gone through a particularly tough period. If this is you, don’t be afraid to share it. Don’t hesitate by thinking people don’t want to hear it. People don’t want to feel like they are alone, and by recognising that others have gone through similar times is sometimes the encouragement, they need to want to turn things around.
Remember that your story can be vital to encourage others to not shy away from asking for help.
Encourage educational information
There is a wealth of education out there these days about mental health and how to deal with it. Learn how to get hold of this information, and if you work closely with schools or have access to any youth groups, distribute educational information where you can.
The best way to become involved in this is by learning the skills to offer professional help yourself, which is one of the most rewarding ways to provide help. If you have noticed you have an empathic energy, have a passion for listening and understanding people, but more importantly, working out action plans to help, why not look at strengthening your own counselling skills? This way, you can offer expert help and really make a difference for teens in the area.
If you don’t know where to start, explore Online Counselling Courses. These can help you study to become a trained and skilled counsellor in your own time, fitting around your schedule.
Write helpful blog posts
When you start to learn more about mental health, why not create some support guides online with the knowledge you have learned? Most of todays teenagers spend a lot of their time online, so if there is any platform to share help and support, the internet is the one.
You could start by writing about your own experiences of mental health, whether you have suffered or from what you have seen from people around you. It can include up-to-date facts on mental health, tips and advice.
Overall, the key is to be as supportive as possible, especially if you know any teenagers yourself who are suffering. Look for the signs. Is there anyone who seems unusually subdued or their minds seem to be somewhere else? Open up to people, ask how they are, and above all, show your constant support.