I’ve had a few things on my mind recently. I guess most of us are the same. There are usually a few things exercising our thinking on any given day…
Young people, it seems, are no different. Why would they be?
What’s troubling the youth of today?…
Recent research by mental health charity YoungMinds, engaged 5,600 young people through focus groups, surveys and online consultations. They identified 5 major themes affecting young people today:
1. SEXED UP
Don’t believe the hype – tackling sexual pressures – 75 per cent said they want sex education in schools that gives them the chance to talk about sex and relationships. Over half of 11-14 year olds have viewed online pornography,
with 4 out of 10 believing it has affected their relationships.
Stop the rot – tackling bullying – Half of the children and young people we consulted with have been bullied. 85 per cent of young people affected by bullying said they want support for as long as they need it so the bullying stops affecting their lives.
3. SCHOOL STRESS
Re-write the rules – tackling school stress – Over half of the children and young people we asked believe they will be a failure if they don’t get good grades. 82 per cent said schools should prepare pupils for life, not just exams, by teaching them how to cope when life is tough.
4. NO HELP
Make your feelings loud – tackling the lack of support and help – 1 in 3 young people do not know where to get help when they feel depressed or anxious. 83 per cent of young people want everyone who works in schools to know how to spot the signs a young person is struggling and how best to help them.
5. NO WORK
Fight for your future – tackling unemployment – 72 per cent want unemployed young people to get help to deal with the stress and upset caused by being out of work.
5,600 young people can’t be wrong…
The full research report illustrates each of these issues from young peoples’ own perspectives. It gives a sense of the overall view taken by the young people and then gives a specific example of the issue – as it really happened to someone.
The accounts are simple, sobering and very powerful. The pressures are the same as those faced by generations of teenagers since time immemorial. But technology and the age and cultural dissonance between young people and adults, make these challenges unique to this generation.
It is our duty as adults, never mind as those working with young people, to understand the issues and do whatever we can to change things.
If young people are to really thrive, these pressures need to be eased. Now.
- What pressure have you seen young facing? How did you help?
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© Jonny Matthew 2014