This is a particular area of concern to me, working closely with young people as a school counsellor; I witness first-hand the worrying patterns of behaviour now occurring. At the risk of alarming you, the statistics for mental health issues for young people can make grim reading.
Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression and 1 in 10 young people aged between 5-16 deliberately self harm. Eating disorders are at the highest levels recorded.
I am passionate about the benefits of offering early intervention for young people that are starting to display signs of distress. Often a four –six week piece of work can prevent years of heartache down the line.
Counselling young people takes a particular set of skills. Reaching into their world and trying to understand often maladaptive behaviour whist betraying not one ounce of judgement can be challenging and something parents find very difficult to manage. The explosion of the digital world, and the pressure to access money, I personally think has changed the nature of childhood beyond recognition and requires a set of skills most young people are not equipped with to keep themselves safe.
Offering young people the chance to talk about what is really going on, a safe place to be vulnerable can make an enormous difference to their emotional well-being.
Childhood and teenage years are when emotional health is developed and patterns are set for the future. So, a child equipped with good mental health and positive coping mechanisms will be able to fulfil and maximise their potential.
I have a full, up to date CRB certificate.
The feedback I gain from young people is extremely positive; being able to open up to a trusted stranger can be enormously beneficial.
They report better levels of concentration, improved friendships, less conflict at home and most importantly have creative ideas about how to deal with the inevitable stresses and strains of life as they progress.