Anxiety, depression, poor mental health and stress are words we hear thrown around like candy, but not often do we hear about how to help those who are in the midst of the mental fog.
Its been said a million times but a smile and a simple hello can change someone’s day. It’s the little things in life that we often forget can mean the most to those who are struggling.
This is a season where end of year pressure builds for families and young people. With exams, holiday plans, extra financial stress and the question of “what next” beckons, the load can feel too much and, sometimes, disorientating.
In our work in the community, here in Whangaparaoa (through Coast Youth Community Trust) we aim to support young people and families in this space and it seems so many are needing that support currently. They tell us they feel isolated by the belief that they are alone in their struggle. I’m sure you know people who are under this sort of pressure, whether you’re aware of their difficulties or not. The question is; how can we support? How do you start a conversation around depression? How do you say, I can see you’re struggling, and I’m here?
First, let’s stop pretending that all is rosy and our days are jam packed full of Facebook-worthy scenery and excitement. Let’s start being honest with one another – some days can be hard yakka and school, training or work can be mentally and emotionally exhausting – we’ve all experienced it.
Once you start being honest, it allows others to be honest with you. You may be surprised what happens when your reality meets other people’s.
Real conversations lead to honesty and understanding. And therein lies the key to helping those in the mental fog of anxiety, depression and the like. It dismantles the misbelief of isolation and the feeling of ‘I’m alone’.
Allow them to be honest about how they are feeling, what they are going through and what is affecting them, without the fear of judgement or “I can fix you”.
Give the ‘real life’ thing a try. You may be surprised at how much you can help by doing nothing but listening and being there for someone.
If you need support, you can contact us at CYC Trust or Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234.
This is Hibiscus Matters’ final Youth Blog column. Thanks to all the contributors to it over the past year.