Recent research, clinical observations, teachers, parents, and young people themselves reported on their changes with their mental well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic, as a catalyst increasing and elevating pre-existing mental health problems in young people. The disruption of school, extended alone time, instead of with peers, lack of social interaction, too much time with parents, too much screen and too little physical activity time.
Beside all the challenges related to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine further increases the uncertainty of their future, not to forget the climate change and its impact on the generation of young people. Social media exposure, and its impact on mental well-being can’t be estimated enough. Bullying, incl. cyber bullying are yet another major topic to be discussed.
The future is uncertain, full of question marks, what career path to choose, when there’s so many choices, yet so few that one understands and the decision so early to be made, yet so impactful for the future.
Working with young people since over a decade, in teaching, research, clinical, and consulting roles, I’ve noticed a shift in the number of young people struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and self-confidence, eating disorders, and self-harming behavior.
Goal with this podcast isn’t, to point at anyone or blame anyone. It’s simply educative, Public Health Service. The idea is to raise awareness of the increasing problem of mental health disorders among youth. Set up ask for action plans, educate, health care professionals, teachers, parents, and youth themselves. How to prevent, act, and intervene early to avoid major problems hard to be fixed without leaving behind wounds, both physical and mental wounds.
How to help?
Genuinely ask how the person is doing.
Be a listener: Non-judgment, simply taking in what the person would like to share.
Don’t offer advice! It victimises the person and most of the time they know exactly what they’d need, but need support executing their step towards a healing ❤️🩹 process.
Offer company: cook or take a walk together. If someone’s very anxious, offer to stay over night with them.
Say it before it’s too late! Adress the issue, don’t shy away from telling! But then: suggest sources for support.