Feel the Connection – Youth and Adults Part I

We are social creatures like penguins.

People and penguins… youth and adults?

This is Part I of a blog about a program that I worked on with teenagers a couple years ago. It would be a waste to not share what knowledge we gained. In this part you will discover why we created the program. You will also learn some of the things we accomplished with our talks. The intriguing information of what makes some of our teenagers moody and sad is revealed. It’s not easy to work with teens but they are important people that, as you will see, can express themselves if given a chance.

Differences Between Adults and Teens

As an adult I have my own style of living that youth aren’t likely to have due to societal norms for each age group. There are also of course school rules and parental guidelines. Youth, however, are better at some things. Youth are good at creating, important tight friendships and neat social circles that aren’t part of my adult experience. Youth are trying to have their voices heard, and yet fit in at the same time.

Friendships in the teenage stage are important but even  friends have problems, and they need a shoulder to lean on. This is a song that friends of mine, arm and arm sang together when we were teenagers, “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.” by Mr. Bill Withers. Where can people nowadays find that shoulder to lean on, but more importantly where can youth find people to lighten their burdens?

Lets Talk Program with the Canadian Mental Health Association

Jackie Ralph was the co-ordinator (who works for the Canadian Mental Health Association) for a program we created called Lets Talk. I was the Lead Volunteer. The program responded to youth by providing education in schools about becoming healthier when experiencing stress or mental illness. I helped create the program and gave a part of my story as an example of someone who has had to live with mental health difficulties.

Some youth gave me comforting sympathy for the illness while some were curious, still others laughed with embarrassment.  The young people found some of the coping mechanisms interesting. They liked how I sing Christmas carols in July and watch the colours of clothing and dreamt of climbing trees. Some were surprised I had an illness while others felt badly for me. I had to stay strong, because I was exposing myself and their were some reactions to this. I had to  use the support of counsellors, books and peers.

What Are The Reasons For Stress?

I learned some of the stressors that affect youth through the unfolding of our program, Lets Talk! This was like finding out important secrets that needed to be handled with great respect!

Grandparents dying was a pretty big experience. It was a definite sad part of being a young person. We could see that there seemed to be  no real place for teens to express their loss and love for these people who had played such a large role in their lives, although poetry and journaling were useful, effective help to some.

Also, exams, tests and studying can get fairly stressful for them. To cope with this we suggested that youth can do many things, such as choosing an optimistic movie or listening to expressive music for a break. We also offered many other stress breaks that they could easily use when they felt upset.

Another stress is that parents with mental health problems can be hard to live with.  Parents coping with illness can be sensitive and good at parenting, yet at other times they may be inattentive and hard to be around. A common ground (like a hobby, sport or game) found in this circumstance can help bridge the two, parent and youth, during some hard times.

Another difficult thing is a parent  with a physical sickness or the death of a parent. You can see how coping mechanisms would be important. Also it is important to be aware of the stages of grief.

Yet another stress was the death of a pet. All stress inducing experiences are difficult and need gentle support and skilled assistance at times.

Mental illness doesn’t come from nowhere. There are reasons! Is it nice to know what some of these reasons which you’ve just read could be? Now that the secrets are out is it time to talk about the feelings and find some peace and understanding within these issues?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog which will be posted next Monday the 28th. At this time I will take a risk by sharing my personal involvement with the program, Let’s Talk. I will tell the readers what inspired me despite mental illness.  Further discussion on the need for a bridge between teens and adults will ensue. You’ll be asked if you can carry on with this spark of dialogue in your own way.

About friendofsnowflake

It is my pleasure to welcome you to my Blog! My name is Melanie and my nic-name Snowflake as you may already know. I'm excited to share some of my ideas and writings with you. It's interesting how psychological concepts can make things a little clearer. I have a psychology degree from the University of Waterloo. It is my hope that I can share some knowledge with you. Some of my hobbies include playing piano, guitar, drawing and more recently beading. It also really interesting to recieve comments from the amazing people who read my Blog. I hope if you feel inclined that you will tell me a bit about yourself. I would like to think that some special time spent off the net is also important for you or me. In this time you could sing or dance or just sit with a book. In the mean-time it's nice to have met you because there is some quality time spent on the net. I hope you have had time to look at your favourite song or look up your favourite author. My favorite song is True Colour by Cyndi Lauper and my favourite author is Gretchin Rubin. I feel gratitude that I can write this Blog. I hope you come back and see what new Blog is here over time. In the mean time have a great day and stay you!

Posted on January 21, 2013, in Balance, Depression, anger and negativity, Emotions, goal setting, Happiness, Self Esteem and Positivity, mental health, mental illness, New Age Psychology, schizophrenia, young people and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Lots of wisdom and insight … thanks Melanie.

    • Louise,

      It has been neat to reflect on my time spent volunteering with teenagers. We were trying to prevent some problems. Even if a couple teens learned some tools from our talks, that would be great. Thanks for your comment.

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