I have been reflecting a lot on mental health and young people lately. The statistics of anxiety, depression, and suicide in young people in Australia are staggering:
- One in seven young people aged 4 to 17 years experience a mental health condition in any given year.
- One in ten young people aged 12-17 years old will self-harm, one in 13 will seriously consider a suicide attempt, and one in 40 will attempt suicide.
- Suicide continues to be the leading cause of death for young Australians. In 2018, suicide accounted for over one-third of deaths among people aged 15-24.
As a leader of teenagers, I take these statistics very seriously. I can only imagine the impact that this period of social isolation and constant change has had on pre-existing mental health struggles.
As a St Johns Youth leadership team, we want to be allies with you, parents of youth. We want to work with you in helping our young people develop emotional resilience and have access to the right help when they need it. Knowing that young people are less likely than any other age group to seek professional help means that we all have an important role in checking in and noticing when something might be up.
For the next few weeks, I’ll be putting together some information and resources I have found really helpful. Hopefully, you can add these to your parenting toolbox as we approach Teen Mental Health together.
Kids Helpline is an Australian, free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counseling service for young people aged 5 to 25. Sometimes parents are the last people youth want to talk to when they’re really struggling, not believing you’ll understand or that you’ll get upset or angry by what they share.
Giving your youth access to this number (even putting it on your fridge!) can show them that Mental Health is something you care about even if you aren’t the person they turn to. In my experience the more my family talked about Mental Health and the resources available the more I actually wanted to go to my parents for support. My parents showed me that they got it and they cared.
You can also encourage your youth to give this number as a resource to their friends that might be struggling.
You can visit Kids Helpline Website for some other great resources.
*If you have reason to believe your child or another child is at serious risk of self-harm or suicide call 000 immediately as this is a medical emergency.
Please contact me if you have any questions about Mental Health and St Johns Youth.
Trainee Youth Minister