What’s the deal with Youth Mental Health?
As a young person (I’m 23) I’m often confronted by myths and stigma when talking to my friends and family. It can be awkward, confusing and uncomfortable for some people to talk about mental health and that’s okay. Fortunately in my role as a Community Engagement officer with headspace Armadale I’ve become a lot more comfortable with the topic and hopefully after reading this blog, you will too.
How is this relevant to the YEP project?
The YEP project is all about health promotion right? We know health isn’t just the physical, it’s about our mind as well. Often those with physical health problems might be experiencing mental health issues as well. Understanding mental health can help us understand the whole person better.
So what actually is mental health?
Good mental health is about being able to work and study to your full potential, cope with day-to-day life stressors, be involved in your community, and live your life in a free and satisfying way. A person who has good mental health has good emotional and social wellbeing and the capacity to cope with change and challenges. Feeling down, tense, angry or anxious are all normal emotions, but when these feelings persist for long periods of time they may be part of a mental health problem. Mental health problems can impact how you think and your ability to function in your everyday activities, whether at school, at work or in relationships.
(Want to know more? Go here: https://headspace.org.au/young-people/what-is-mental-health/ )
Mental health is a topic that we need to be aware of because chances are if it hasn’t affected you personally, it will affect someone you know. One of four young people, between the ages of 12-25, will be affected. One-in-four (!?). This clearly isn’t a topic that’s going away anytime soon. That’s why people like me, and organisations like headspace spend so much time and care talking about and working with young people affected by mental illness.
Soooo why do young people need to talk about mental health?
75% of mental illness emerges before the age of 25 (that’s massive right?!). Mental health problems and illnesses can affect relationships, the ability to hold a job, how you cope with life’s challenges and a range of other life impacting things.
Imagine if none of those young people got support. Our country would have a whole lot of unhappy, unwell young people which would be (and let’s be honest it sometimes already is) damaging to individuals, communities and even the economy.
If young people and their families are aware of free, confidential support services (like headspace) they are able to receive the support they need and may recover sooner or manage their illness more effectively.
What do I do if I’m not feeling like myself or if somethings up with my mate?
Everyone goes through tough times, ups and downs, and sometimes we just need a bit of support.
What can you do if you aren’t feeling quite right? Educate yourself with reliable sources. Reach out to someone you know and trust. See a health professional (Your GP is always a good place to start). Remember you are not alone and that no problem is too small to seek help for. Know that there are people in your life, organisations and professionals that want to see you do well, living life to your full potential.
What if your friend is not okay? Listen, no need to judge or provide advice on issue, encourage positive coping strategies and just be there for them and point them in the right direction. Encourage them to seek help, go with them to their first appointment. If you are concerned for their safety, tell a family member or someone that can help. Don’t feel like you have to solve all of that person’s problems on your own.
It’s also a great idea to discover some of your own ways to look after your mind. Know what helps you de-stress, remember it’s the simple things that can often be the most effective. Listening to music or exploring creativity, the health basics (c’mon we all know them, drinking water, eating those fruit and veg and getting enough sleep), practicing positive self-talk and find hobbies you love can be helpful and positive for your mental health and wellbeing.
So what now?
Be kind to yourself, educate yourself and don’t shy away from mental health when it pops up in conversation or in your morning Facebook scroll. Let others know that it’s okay to seek help and spread the word about looking after your own mental wellness.
Check out our website headspace.org.au to find your nearest centre, if you want to read up other issues impacting young people or if you want to find out more about all things headspace.
If you or someone you know isn’t okay call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit eheadspace.org.au.
headspace Armadale – 9393 0300
Follow us on facebook for more info, self care tips and giveaways. www.facebook.com/headspacearmadale/