In recent years it is fair to say that Chrysalis has noticed a huge shift in the way that mental health is talked about and portrayed in the media. People are more accepting and committed to talking about and auctioning change in the stereotype that surrounds people with mental health issues.
Charities such as Mind and Time to Change as well as high profile celebrities who have been very open about struggles they have faced have played a huge role in helping others to talk about their own struggles and creating their own campaigns which have gone viral such as The Semi Colon Project and Medicated and Mighty. Finally it feels like huge steps forward are being taken, however that doesn’t mean it is time to relax. We still have a long way to go.
Mental health among teenagers and children is struggling to lose its taboo status. One in ten children experience mental health issues between the ages of 5 and 16. A sad statistic we saw said that 26% of young people who experience mental health issues have wanted to give up on life because of the stigma that is attached with it. This is a massive issue and one that needs drastic action as soon as possible.
With the pressures of the internet, social media, school and everyday lives young people face a daily challenge. This is aside from the already huge change teenagers go through such as puberty and sudden growth spurts, which alone can be a trauma. In the old days children could go home from school and they could relax, now there is the internet with picture perfect celebrities, cyber bullies and undesirable places on the internet which is causing a great deal of stress to an already anxious teenager. This makes them particularly vulnerable to any other changes in life which may occur such as a family breakdown.
Social media as a description should be a ‘social’ place to keep in contact with friends and family etc. However the pressure to get likes, comments, retweets and friending can have a huge impact on a young people. Not getting likes etc. although it may seem like a small thing to some, can feel like a massive rejection to others. It has been shown that an ‘unfriend’ on Facebook registers in the brain in exactly the same way as a physical injury.
Teens need to understand that it’s okay to have this huge mess of emotions, and they must be shown ways to deal with it: being equipped with proper tools will help prevent trauma leaving its mark and becoming anxiety or worse.
A positive step that is being taken is to set up safe place in schools where young people can go and speak to someone. Mindfulness programs are being set up which are devoted to the awareness of emotions, how they arise and in what forms and, importantly, how to manage those emotions.
A child with an awareness of what is going on with their emotions, helpful and unhelpful, develops an ability to accept and embrace emotions, and not to allow them to grow to overwhelm. A mindfulness programme instils the fact that everyone — other kids, teachers, parents — has exactly the same abilities to think and to feel and react. In the same way as you feel grumpy, angry, irritable, or happy, the lesson goes, so does everyone else. The programme develops compassion in its truest sense: understanding and forgiving of both self and others. Again, interpersonal relationships can become more considered and deliberate.
There are certain charities, such as Place2b work with school and offers a flexible menu of services, tailored to meet schools’ needs. The typical model is based on a team of five or more Place2Be personnel (both clinical staff and highly skilled volunteers) delivering a range of services in a school.
Chrysalis has recently been lucky enough to work together with Place2b to allow our students to volunteer with them. Every year Place2b needs volunteers to help with the growing demand they face. So if working with children is something you feel passionate about, speak to your tutor today about getting a placement with Place2b in your third year and visit our Placements page for other placements we have available.