Finishing off August's focus on adolescent mental health (and a lot more links!)

‘With good mental health, children and young people do better in every way. They enjoy their childhoods, are able to deal with stress and difficult times, are able to learn better, do better at school, navigate the online world they grew up in so they benefit from it and enjoy friendships and new experiences. Childhood and teenage years are when mental health is developed and patterns are set for the future. So a child with good mental health is much more likely to have good mental health as an adult, and to be able to take on adult responsibilities and fulfill their potential.’

Young Minds

adolescent mental health

Adolescence (approximately ages 11-25) is a potentially very challenging time of life, with many transitions to be made, new life experiences to be navigated and changing relationships to be negotiated.  My focus this month has been on adolescent mental health, with the aim of getting people talking about this often difficult-to-talk-about subject.  As part of this I led a workshop for Middle Years (MYP) staff at the British International School in Stavanger (BISS), and spoke with parents at the MYP open evening.  I'll be back at BISS to talk to the students themselves at their morning assembly in October.  It's a long time since I spoke in assembly!

So, please, get informed, look at the links below and in previous posts, talk about mental health and emotional wellbeing with your parents/children (delete as appropriate), send them these links and start the conversation. You’ll be pleased you did.

Links for young people, parents and teachers:

Young people – if you’re not sure how to start looking after your mental health, have a look at these pages, and the links in my last post

This is a really helpful guide to thinking about your mental health, from Rethink and this is a great You Tube video thinking about mental health from JacksGap.

http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_children_young_people/better_mental_health

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/youngpeople

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/children-and-young-people/

http://www.rethink.org/living-with-mental-illness/young-people

What can parents, carers, teachers and other adults do to support young people? There are many things that we can do, principally supporting the development of emotional resilience.

Here is a short guide to supporting resilience, from the American Psychological Association for parents and teachers http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resilience.aspx

And here is a longer one from Boing Boing, a UK Community Interest Company working to promote resilience. This book is a free download, written by young people, for parents.

http://boingboing.org.uk/index.php/getting-hold-of-our-stuff?id=108:rt-toolkit&catid=1

MYP parents working on a group task during my talk on adolescent mental health.

BISS MYP staff during a workshop I led on adolescent mental health.

Presenting at INN Stavanger

In November 2014 I was excited to be asked by International Network Norway (INN), an organisation supporting the international and expat population in Stavanger, to give a presentation on ‘Dealing with the Unexpected’. This talk was prompted by the uncerScreen Shot 2015-06-14 at 13.51.50tainty in the oil industry and the sometimes very sudden changes people are having to make in terms of their work roles and relocation plans. I was even more pleased to be asked to repeat the presentation in May 2015. The diverse and truly international audiences asked many thoughtful questions, and I had many interesting emails in response.

Dealing with the unexpected 13th May 2015

The main focus of my presentation was on the benefits of developing emotional resilience in preparing for and coping with the unexpected, particularly in expat and cross-cultural life. Emotional resilience is defined by Janssen in The Emotionally Resilient Expat as ‘the ability to recover from and/or adjust to negative events or significant change… also to maintaining or returning to a positive view of oneself during and after such turmoil.’

By developing emotional resilience we increase our capacity to cope with the unexpected more successfully. We can all increase our emotional resilience, whatever our age, stage of life, background or current situation. It may not be easy, in fact it may well be immensely challenging, but the American Psychological Association describes emotional resilience as involving behaviours, thoughts and actions that anyone can learn and develop (www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx). The key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you, as part of a personal strategy for developing resilience.

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.