Our first masterclass of 2021 was on ‘Demystifying Well-being and Mental Health’, expertly delivered by our Making The Leap in-house counsellor, Lillie Stoute. Lillie is a drama-therapist (art psychotherapist). She has worked in social care for over 30 years in a variety of roles. She walked us the myths associated with mental health and well-being, and the stigmas that individuals face. It was an eye-opening and an essential masterclass session that, at a time where many young people’s well-being and mental health could deteriorate, is well needed.
After Lillie introduced herself to the masterclass attendees, she went on to discuss the five states of mental well-being (physical, emotional, social, workplace, and societal). One poignant quote from her session was “our well-being is like a well-functioning car” highlighting the importance of other areas of well-being impacting our mental health. One young person commented, “…I related to the main idea of the mind-body link, where if I don’t take care of one, the other will be negatively impacted. This resonated with me and [encouraged me] to improve my own well-being”.
The Q&A portion of the masterclass touched on more areas of well-being. Particularly, the importance of societal and social well-being, and how to be there for others whilst also practising good mental health. One young person asked, “how do I ‘lend an ear’ without undoing my own well-being?” and Lillie stressed the importance of conversations with the right people and practising well-being by encouraging and supporting those who need help to seek help. A takeaway from this was “…We need to be aware that there is a large number of people who are suffering in silence for long periods of time, and we need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others”.
Time To Talk Day is an annual national mental health awareness day that aims to remove stigma and barriers to accessing mental health services. Today, on the 4th of February, is a day in which we want to start a conversation to help young people at a time where mental health problems may be at an all-time high. It is reported that 1 in 4 people in the UK experience mental health problems, an estimated 17% will experience suicidal thoughts, and 44% of people have reported facing stigma affecting their interpersonal relationships.
The impact that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have had on young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, is harrowing. Recent research conducted by The Prince’s Trust found that before the pandemic, mental illnesses in young people (16-25) had a rate of morbidity of 1 in 9, however, with the pandemic that number has increased to 1 in 6. Not to mention the research showing the youth jobs gap and education attainment divide widening, indicating our most vulnerable young people being left even further behind. Just recently, a survey by NHS Digital found that children and young people with parents who are struggling financially are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems, leading to even more health and education inequalities.
Research shows that ‘poverty is intrinsically alienating and distressing… [there] are direct and indirect effects… on the development and maintenance of [mental health problems]’. It’s times like these that starting these conversations in our community is crucial in our mission to raise the aspirations of disadvantaged young people. Sessions like these empower our young people to build confidence and develop skills to access life-changing careers. Another young person highlighted that talking about mental health and well-being allowed them to see “individuals going through the same thing I am” and feel less alone in their struggles.
Here are some tips for managing your mental well-being:
Connect. In the age of virtual hangouts and activities, a simple text or phone call can help in making you feel more connected.
Get moving. As mentioned before taking care of other aspects of your well-being can contribute to helping maintain mental well-being. Countless studies have shown the effects of endorphins on emotional and mental well-being.
Practice mental acuity. As well as keeping physically fit, keep mentally fit too. Learning new things and reading books can help to maintain your well-being.
Practice gratitude. Many studies have shown the impact of gratitude on mental well-being, as it promotes a more altruistic outlook on life and helps to encourage positive feelings and thoughts.
Mindfulness. Taking some time to tune in to your emotions and environment can do wonders to your mental well-being. Mental Health professionals use mindfulness as an intervention programme for depression (it is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE]).
And most importantly, reach out and talk to someone. If you need support, use the resources below to get the help you need.
For more information on our ACE Programme, click here.