Today is time to talk day. I thought about talking about my own journey of learning to deal with depression, but I realized there is something far more pressing.
At this point, I would like to say, what follows is my personal point of view.
I’m a youth worker, and have been full time for 15 years. Mental wellbeing always was a challenge though the teenage years, it’s the time when we wrestle with who we are, stepping out from the cocoon of childhood and into the identity of our adulthood.
But its so much harder now than it ever was. The 24-7 pressure of media, expectations, austerity and the like has become a poisonous cocktail for many young people.
EVERY DAY I come into contact with young people either with diagnosed mental illnesses or simply weighed down with anxiety, worries and fear.
The other day I was helping a young person with techniques to deal with anxiety. They are not diagnosed, just suffering. In the same hour another young person expressed their stress at being in a class detention. They were worried it would have a long term affect on their career.
Sounds foolish doesn’t it, but that’s what society is doing to young people.
Don’t get me started on the young people I know who self harm or have depression or just simply need someone outside family and friends to talk to.
There is no money to support young people and what services are available are stretched beyond breaking point.
I would sound the warning siren for the train wreck of young peoples lives.
But it is already here.
As a youth worker, part of my job is helping young people out if the wreckage.
So I have a request. If you know ANYONE between the ages of eleven and twenty, take time not only to talk..
But to listen.
Without judgment, and with compassion. Please, take time to listen to young people. Let them know they really matter, that they are visible, valuable and wanted.