Our Online Manager Talks To Us About Connection
This year the theme for Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health Week was ‘Connection’ and ‘Let’s Connect’.
It invited us to explore the role of healthy relationships and vital social connections in supporting our wellbeing and the impact when a person may experience a lack or absence of positive connections.
We explored the importance of this with our team and you can read our interview with Scott, our Online Manager below.
Why is it important that young people have access to Mental Health services and support?
Scott: “Because we want young people to thrive in their lives! It's a cliche, but young people are contending with a huge amount of stress today and it's vital they have access to safe, confidential spaces to talk about how things are impacting them so they're able to enjoy life to the fullest and not carry things with them into adulthood. We have an incredible opportunity to offer support at the time it's most needed and can have the greatest impact, not only for an individual's life, but all future generations really.”
How can this access to MH support and services impact a young person's life/future?
Scott “In every way! Having the opportunity to explore how things are impacting you and understand your response to the world around you at a young age not only prevents things building up inside until they inevitably explode in adulthood, but gives young people the opportunity to enjoy their time now to the fullest and get the best start in life.”
What do you value about working in this sector?
Scott: “It's great to have the opportunity to respond to individual needs. We can adapt the support we offer in a wide variety of ways, link in with other organisations and give young people opportunities to pursue their interests beyond mental health too. It's exciting to be part of a VCSE community that's centred around young people's voice and is keen that young people lead on their on care and support.”
How do you think we (as a society) could better support young people with their Mental Health?
Scott: “Listening! If everyone approached things with compassion, empathy and curiosity we could build a genuine understanding of our experiences, learn from one another and discover what we can do to help each other thrive. Trusting that young people are the experts in their own experiences and taking the time to talk to them without judgement, assumptions or pre-conceived notions goes a huge way in really understanding what's going on for them.”
The theme of this year’s Young People’s Mental Health Week is connection. Why do you think connection is important in supporting mental health and emotional wellbeing?
Scott: “Because loneliness is a serious problem! It gives all of our negative thoughts room to grow and we can loose our footing on the world around us. To be a bit scientific - our evolution (and arguable supremacy) as a species is entirely due to our ability to work together in complex societal structures and relationships. No other species has a developmental period as long as a human infant / child / teenager because that's how long and how important understanding how to connect with one another is for humans. Connecting with others, no matter how, is fundamental to how humans work and without it we can lose ourselves.”
How can feeling disconnected from others impact someone's emotional wellbeing
Scott: “Our negative thoughts can spiral quickly without being able to share them with someone. They get louder, more cemented and can slowly take over. Having a connection and realising you aren't alone can make a massive difference - even if you don't arrive at any solutions! Just hearing yourself share things can have a big impact.”
How do you think we can support people who are lonely, disconnected or discriminated against to feel more connected?
Scott: “Realise how big of a step making a connection can be! Being vulnerable and putting yourself out takes a lot of courage and we should recognise that and praise people when they take this chance to make a new connection - even it goes wrong or doesn't work out! Learning to be vulnerable is what leads to those genuine connections and it takes the encouragement and affirmation of others to keep taking those steps!”