Pixar's animated film Inside Out gives a playful insight into what it's like for our minds and emotions as they try to process the ups and downs of life. It presents an important idea that as we pursue happiness we might actually be squashing down negative emotions to our own detriment. Part of growing up is learning to take care of ourselves physically but also mentally and learning how to manage all our emotions.
This week is Children's Mental Health Week. Across our organisation we work with children and young people and recognise that mental health problems are important to address and discuss. The week is run by children's mental health charity Place2Be who claim that around three children in every primary school class has a mental health problem. They provide mental health support and counselling services to children across the UK. Find out more about them and how you can get involved with the week here.
At asphaleia, we have a mental health worker who provides support to our young people in our training centre. We asked her a few questions and for her top tips for helping young people manage their mental health.
What are the biggest challenges faced by young people today?
Anxiety – Most young people that I work with are facing some form of anxiety. A big proportion of young people seem to struggle in social and group settings and will be anxious in a classroom, on public transport or sometimes just leaving the house. Anxiety also seems to stem from pressures from social media to be/look a certain way. The sites causing most problems regarding anxiety are Instagram and Snapchat.
Low self confidence – Many young people suffer with low self confidence and self worth. Young people may have had negative experiences at school or in their family lives that contribute to why they do not feel good about themselves. This is certainly something I come across on a regular basis.
Family problems – Many young people have past or ongoing family problems. Such problems will affect how they see themselves, view the world, behave in a social setting etc.
Depression – Depression seems to be very prevalent among young people who have mental health issues. Depression can stem from a whole range of issues or can be genetic. I work with many young people who suffer with depression.
Can you give us 3 tips for day-to-day emotional well-being?
Eat and sleep well. A good diet (with fruit and veg) helps lift the mood, as does a good sleep.
Get some exercise – fresh air and walking are just as good (if not better!)
Be around people that make you feel good about yourself and do fun stuff with them!
Tell us more about your role at asphaleia
I am a Mental Health Worker – I work with young people who struggle with their mental health. I work with a whole range of problems across the board – no problem is ever too big, too small or too silly. My aim in my role is for the young people I work with to have good mental health, for them to be able to cope better, build resilience, and to manage their problems and look at meaningful outcomes with them. Ultimately I want to help them achieve their goals. Each young person comes with their own unique issues – there is no one size fits all. Each young person is individual, has an individual support plan, and is worked with accordingly. I also liaise closely with other agencies who are usually also working with the young people.
Can you give us an example of a young person you have worked with and what the outcomes were?
I worked with a young person, who we'll call A. When I first started working with A she could not leave the house so I started with house visits to help her with anxiety and confidence issues. After a few sessions, A was able to leave the house and get a lift or taxi to the centre, where I gradually introduced A to other students and teachers. We would have regular one to one sessions, working towards A going into class to get her English and maths qualifications.
We would work on building her self confidence and managing her anxiety, giving her small achievable goals, and working on any other issues she had. After these sessions, A was not only able to use public transport but she was able to sit in class. We started with small steps – A going into class for 10 minutes, then half hour etc.... Within two months A was in class full-time. She was feeling much more confident and managing her anxiety well. A achieved her qualifications at asphaleia and is now looking at other courses. A continues to be more confident and is enjoying hobbies and fulfilling relationships.
If you would like to find out more about studying with us at asphaleia, please visit our training page.
This content is general information only, not advice. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please contact a mental health professional.