We are approaching a crisis. It hasn’t been caused by a tweet by Donald Trump, and it wasn’t even Kim Jong-Un or Putin. It is a crisis of our own doing, because of our own naivety over the effects of modern life on those growing up on the internet.
Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. With all the problems we have to deal with, is this such a surprise? Frankly, my only surprise is that the number is not higher. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a heartbreaking issue in society if these young people got the help they needed, but this isn’t the case. We aren’t getting the help we need, and when we do, it is often too late. As a young person myself I’ve had my fair share of dealings with mental health issues. I’ve got friends who are depressed, I’ve got friends with anxiety. I’ve got friends of friends who have committed suicide.
I can barely joke with some friends about wanting to die, because half the time I’m scared they aren’t joking.
Mental health is inseparable from any other aspects of life growing up. I can’t speak for the generations before me, but it seems like it’s harder than ever to be young and impressionable. We may be safer than ever, physically. We don’t go out as much, or stay out as late. We have sex later on in life and there’s been a decline in teen pregnancy. However, mentally, we are so at risk that we are approaching a crisis, and barely anyone is noticing.
You can’t go anywhere without seeing unobtainable ideals. Social media is here, and it’s here to stay. Don’t blame platforms, better yet, blame a lack of a decent support system for our young people. Technology is advancing fast, but mental health provisions still seem stuck in the 80s (that’s a long time ago for some of us!).
We vaccinate our kids, we put plasters on their cuts, we even make sure they eat their 5-a-day (or is it more these days?). So why don’t we also look after their mental health? The two are obviously interlinked but we need to look at early intervention in young people’s mental health more. We need to arm kids with the resources to ask for help with their mental health.
The fact of the matter is, pumping money into early intervention – now – is logical. Cold-heartedly, it’s cheaper for the tax payer in the long run. We need to get this sorted now. People are being left behind by the system (how I cringe at the use of ‘system’, but there we go). Spending months on waiting lists is no good when intervention is needed right now. Time does not heal all wounds – definitely not when it comes to a young person reaching crisis.
We’re not angry enough about this. Get angry. We should be angry that my generation, future generations, your kids, your grandkids, aren’t getting the support they need.
I recently read somewhere that the 2007/2008 financial crisis has left my generation in despair. This doesn’t surprise me either. We have to pay more university tuition fees than anyone else ever has. We are Generation Rent. We probably won’t own our own homes. On top of it all, you thought the Cold War was over? Ha, you thought wrong. We are more educated than ever, we will live longer, but ultimately we will feel like nothing will ever be enough when compared to Karen from Facebook with her perfect life. Is it any surprise most of us feel pretty depressed? We aren’t all ‘snowflakes’, but admit it, we have it hard. All we’re asking for is the right support, before all this gets out of hand.
You can’t change social media. You can’t change human behaviour. We can’t hold back the tide of time. What we can change is how we deal with this situation. The solution is obvious.
The solution: better early intervention. Equip us with the skills to help ourselves.
I tried to keep it relatively short and sweet. That’s the first proper blog post I’ve ever done. Let me know how awful it was, I would really appreciate it.
I could chat back and forth about this for hours, don’t hesitate to follow and DM me on Twitter (@HollyWrighttt_). I’ve actually been involved in a project helping to change the way mental health is dealt with in my area; I’ve also been involved in an awareness event. I’m totally up for discussing this also.
I thought I’d start off with something that isn’t controversial – something cross-party that everyone should throw their support behind. Anything you want me to expand on – sign me up, just let me know.
That’s all folks.