By Grace Kelly
It has been unavoidable in the news recently; from exam stress causing teen suicides to a report finding that more than 25% of young people referred to mental health services such as CAMHs are receiving no specialist help at all because cases are not deemed ‘serious’ enough.
The simple fact is that the numbers of young people suffering from crippling conditions like anxiety and depression is growing, with teen self-harm and suicide also on the increase; and mental health services simply cannot cope.
But I can’t help but question ‘why’. Why are we waiting for young people to reach such a desperate point before even being considered for professional help? Why are we not empowering young people to take charge of their own wellbeing? Why are we not equipping them with tools to be able to manage their own minds and emotions?
At a time when pressures on young people are greater and more visible than ever, investing in evidence-based early intervention and prevention programmes can significantly improve or even save lives.
What we are trying to achieve with Mindful Me and Fusion Life Coaching is just that. Our unique programme aims to ‘help young people help themselves’. The bespoke sessions support to build aspirations and reduce anxiety, stress and low mood by teaching them the techniques to regulate, improve and take ownership of their actions.
More than just provide them with ways in which to calm down, we teach young people to understand their emotional and rational brain. This is essential for knowing how to deal with daily situations or confrontations, especially when all too often, teenagers are tapping into their ‘fight or flight’ mode.
Recent feedback across two schools in one area of delivery told us the average start score on the ‘confidence in ability to manage mood’ scale was 4.8 which rose to 7.1 by the end of the session (an increase of 48%).
Our objective is to move away from one off practices and through embedding these learned practices in schools and communities, we will ensure sustainable and measurable change.
Let’s stop waiting for young people to need treatment from over-stretched services and let’s build better emotional resilience from as early on as possible.