Children and young people, you are all our futures, and they do matter so what can we all do to help them in the present?
For most of us growing up brought challenges, however, for children and young people in these times, there are so many new challenges.
In the past, if you were bullied at school, at least when you got home you may have felt safe, but with the internet and social media, that may no longer be the case, as even when not looking, there is still that sense of wanting to know what is being said about you. This site may be of interest if you know someone affected by bullying Respect me.
There can also be pressure on young people around how they look, this site may be of interest Be body kind which contains a report highlighting key recommendations for helping young people across Scotland achieve good body image and recognise that we are so much more than what we look like.
By now we recognise the impact the pandemic has had on many of us, for children and young people that period of lockdown may have been even more intense:
- Missing seeing friends, maybe even new relationships which were just becoming established and all the feelings and sometimes insecurities that go along with that.
- Worrying about the future around exams and access to education, or it is interrupted and whatever view there is of strike action, young people not being in class is another stressor for them.
- Relationships at home may already have been strained, everyone spending so much time together makes it more so, maybe even issues of domestic violence Support for domestic violence females, Support for domestic violence males Support for LGBT+ who have experienced abuse or violence or, recovery issues Alateen for teenage friends or relatives of someone affected by alcohol, Living with an alcohol dependent adult and the ongoing cost of living crisis continues to put a strain on families Cost of living support This site may also be of interest Glasgow Helps
- There is much coverage around climate change and its impact on the planet which can leave young people understandably concerned about their future. This piece may be of interest Eco anxiety and young people This site may also be of interest around exercises which children and young people may find of value Capacitar practices This kit is available in other languages from the Capacitar website
These are challenging times when many of us feel overwhelmed. Sometimes we also need help to help others, even when we are struggling, which is why we need to also care for our mental health. These links may be helpful, things can change due to funding etc so always check directly with the services for their current details. The following are some services which may be of interest to young people and parents or carers.
- Young Scot Details of Mental Health support
- Young Minds Parents Helpline is available to offer advice to parents and carers worried about a child or young person under 25's behaviour, emotional well-being, or mental health condition. Parent's Mental Health. Advice for your child Parent helpline; 0808 802 5544
- Thinkuknow is the education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline. The site also has advice for parents and carers www.thinkuknow.co.uk
- Parenting across Scotland Partnership of charities offering support to children and families in Scotland
- One parent Families Scotland Helpline: 0808 801 0323 OPFS
- Parent line T: 08000 28 22 33
These are strange times we are living in, which bring each of us our own set of challenges. Being there for each other and recognising the additional challenges children and young people may experience at this time, may help us all come through this with reduced suffering. Sometimes when life is challenging, it's about small things we can do now, which help us suffer less.
The following affirmation cards were co-designed with young people from a local youth project G15 youth, young people we knew, a Sunday school class and with the help of a student we had on placement from university. Please, take the time to have a look at these. They were co-designed with young people, offering what they felt was good for looking after your mental health. This isn't about older people and younger people, it's 'we', all of us across the generations who are being affected by the current times we are living through. We can help each other get through this. There is a lot of wisdom in these cards helpful to us all, pick one at random whenever you feel the need for inspiration.
Be kind to yourself and each other, and stay safe, this will pass and for now, it's how we look after each other that can help the time till it passes and be less challenging. We all have it in us, to build a kinder world, sometimes, one conversation at a time.
Children are our greatest treasureNelson Mandela
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