By Hatti Porteous
We live in a world in which teenagers are exposed to a huge array of pressures; the pressure to look perfect, the pressure of social media and the pressures to achieve on a high academic level.
These pressures take a huge toll on young minds, many of us will know someone who has suffered from mental health issues, with now 20% of youths aged 13-18 being diagnosed with a mental health condition. However, there are ways to prevent, cope and talk about it.
Obviously mental Illness is nothing like a physical illness, but there can be symptoms. If you know anyone showing these symptoms, why not try and talk to them? See if they’re really ok.
- Feeling very down all the time for over two weeks
- Severe mood swings
- Intense fear/worries that get in the way of everyday tasks
- Great loss of concentration
- Complete loss of appetite
My sister was a sufferer from mental health several years ago. She was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and for the whole family it was difficult to see a way forward, but through counselling and time, she is now loving life at university and has a smile on her face every day.
“I am proof that in time you can get better which is the biggest message I could give to anyone suffering,” she told me.
No matter the severity of your mental health, you can still get help.
Would a social media break benefit you?
We are all addicted to our phones and on average teens spend over three hours on social media a day.
However, spending so much time looking at others’ lives detracts from our own. We forget that people’s social media reflects the best version of themselves, nobody’s life is perfect, no matter how much it looks it.
Molly Nanson, a student at Priestley College, took a break from social media several months ago and said it made her ‘feel free’ and ‘more focused on her own life.
Perhaps going social media free for a week, two weeks or even a month may help you.
From talking to several students, I’ve gained tips to share on how to keep a positive and healthy mind.
‘Being signed up to a gym is great because it keeps you active and gives you time alone to de-stress,’ says Sian Chorley.
‘Focus on the good things in your life right now and make sure you talk about your problems, or even write them down,’ Molly Nanson suggested.
My sister relies on yoga and meditation. She says ‘it helps me to keep a clear mind and understand the importance of breathing and giving time for myself.’
Talk about it
Priestley have an amazing counsellor, Jane Dickinson, who is available to talk through any problem, big or small, free of charge. Jane works Monday to Wednesday and you can book an appointment with her through Student Services.
She’s based in the Crescent Building. Tracie Ryan, the senior tutor for student wellbeing, is also available to help and she’s based in the Priestley Building opposite the main reception. All students have a Senior Tutor in addition to their Personal Tutors and subject tutors and all are responsible for their welfare in some way.
One crucial thing to remember is that everyone has down days. It is normal to feel unhappy sometimes so don’t be too harsh on yourself. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and it is ok not to be ok.
Other places that can offer help…
Your local GP
Heads together – CALL 116 123 to talk to a Samaritan at any time.
www.betterhelp.com – counselling
www.mind.org.uk – for advice
Talking Matters Warrington – 01925 401 720 (Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm, Fri 9am-4.30pm), 51 Bewsey Street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA2 7JQ