There can be no doubt that young people are under a lot of pressure and at times you’ll be dealing with a whole range of experiences and feelings that can leave you confused, sad, alone, worried and sometimes depressed. It’s hard to remember that others around you may have similar feelings. When you feel vulnerable yourself – others can appear like they have it all sorted and under control and that you’re the only one that seems to be struggling.
It’s really important to find someone to talk to. Keeping difficult thoughts and feelings to yourself can end up leading to more serious problems. Your school, college or university will have student support, counselling and advice services that are there to help you. There are some excellent websites where you can go for support too – I have put some links to them at the bottom of this page.
Between the age of 11-18 years is a time of big change – it can be exciting and fun with lots of new things for you to try out and explore. At times it might feel hard to make sense of what’s happening. One minute you might feel confident and adult and the next vulnerable and inexperienced perhaps doubting your ability to handle different aspects of your life. This can be confusing and you might feel unhappy or distressed as a result.
Gender identity, sexuality, sex, friendships, appearance, drugs and alcohol, school and education, bullying, social media, pornography – any of these issues may affect how you feel about yourself and others. Perhaps your friends have more of an influence and you feel like you want advice or respect their views rather than your parents – especially around key issues like drugs, alcohol and sex. Parents can start to seem out of touch. Friendships and trust are very important and yet it can be easy to fall out with people and for friendship groups to shift quickly. Life can feel a bit out of control.
The Royal Society of Psychiatrists states that 4 out of 10 adolescents have at some time felt so miserable that they have cried and wanted to get away from everyone and everything… and more than 1 in 5 teenagers think so little of themselves that life does not seem worth living. In spite of these powerful feelings, depression may not be obvious to other people.
From 18 onwards you might be thinking about leaving home, going to University or trying to get a job and there are many pressures and stresses that go alongside any of these choices. Concerns about finances (how you are going to get by and pay your way) as well as what the future holds and job prospects are all big issues that you might be confronting.
This can be a time of rapid change and uncertainty in terms of your identity; who you feel you are, what you believe in, what you like doing, your skills and abilities. Changes here can take place at the same time as starting to support yourself, living alone or with friends, cooking and cleaning, earning money and starting to make your way in the world on your own terms. Taking responsibility for your own life can be tough and a bit lonely at times.
If you are at University or in a new job you will also be learning vast amounts of new information and ideas about the world around you – this can be exciting and stimulating but at times might feel a bit overwhelming. Perhaps your brain will feel a bit overloaded with so much to think about.
Art therapy can help support your emotional well-being
One of the great things about art therapy is that it’s NOT all about talking – which can feel really hard sometimes – especially when you don’t really know or understand what’s going on for you. In an art therapy session you can use clay, paint, pens and anything else on the art shelf to doodle, play or make a picture or an object. You don’t have to be any good at art. The art therapist will not judge you or try to read your mind.
I offer you a private, supportive space where you can start to try and make sense of stuff. If you want to talk I will listen. Together we will start to explore some of the feelings you have and work out what might be going on for you. My aim is to develop a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship with you – so you are free to use the art materials and to explore how you feel and what’s on your mind.
I am passionate about supporting young people’s emotional well-being. In our culture young people’s experiences can lead to confusion and isolation – and vulnerability to suicidal feelings and self harming in particular is of real concern. There are so many competing pressures and at times this can be really hard to navigate, especially if sometimes you feel like you’re doing it on your own or you just don’t seem able to tell anyone.
I offer art therapy as a safe space to start exploring and understanding what’s going on for you – how you are feeling and where aspects of your day to day life might be causing problems in some way. Using materials like clay, paint, charcoal and pens to create something or just to doodle and play can help you get in touch with how you’re feeling. Sometimes it’s easier to make an image or an object that connects with something you’re feeling inside rather than talk about it. The image or object can open up a space to start to understand.
I offer art therapy sessions weekly on a one to one basis or as a group. One to one sessions usually last between 50 minutes and an hour. Groups last 1.5 hours – 2 hours.
YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Sometimes it can feel like we don’t have any control over what we think or how we feel. But by making simple changes to our lives, we can make a real difference to our mental health. Feeling good is worth investing in – and the best thing is that these simple tips won’t cost you much time or money. Have a look at the Young Minds Website its really great!
As part of Mental Health Week 2014, Student Minds invite students to discuss their personal experiences of Mental Health particularly during their time at Cambridge University.
Aims to develop new approaches to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people in the UK aged 16 to 25 focusing on intervening early to help young people at risk of developing mental health problems and to tackling the stigma associated with mental health that often prevents young people seeking help. Through the journey of adolescence to adulthood, we recognise that young people need to be heard, valued and emotionally supported. It’s important that this time is a positive experience, ensuring young people are as successful as they can be in the future. You know what kind of support you want, where and how you would like it, during this time. With Right Here, you will have a voice and a choice in the services you use.
TheSite.org is the online guide to life for 16-25 year-olds in the UK. They provide non-judgmental support and information on everything from sex and exam stress to debt and drugs.
Students against Depression
Are you or someone you care about feeling persistently sad, low, anxious or empty? Depression is more common than you might think – 1 in 10 people will experience depression and/or anxiety in any one year. Students Against Depression offers information and resources validated by health professionals alongside tips and advice from students who have experienced it all themselves.