Mental health is an ever-present issue – perhaps more prevalent than ever before with the additional challenges the past couple of years have brought to the world. Mental health struggles can affect everyone in various forms and at various stages of life. We know more than ever how important it is to prioritise mental health and well-being. But sometimes it’s hard to do that – and sometimes you need to ask for help.
We spoke to young CREATE members about their experiences with mental health while in care. Here’s what they had to say:
Access to mental health support up to the age of 25. I think there should be more organisations like Headspace. At the moment, Headspace are beyond capacity but I think more organisations should assist people to the age of 25. (Non-binary, 17).
Sometimes people say “why are you depressed, your life isn’t that bad?” This just makes you feel worse. People need to understand that not all depression is situational. (Female, 16).
Mental health can be as debilitating as physical illness. (Female, 19).
There was a lot of stigma around going to mental health support services, or struggling mentally, especially when I was around 14, 15, 16 and in residential care, and the other kids would ask where I had been. Even in my mid 20’s, there is stigma connected with accessing mental health support. (Male, 24).
Stigma can make you afraid to speak up and say what is happening to you. You worry people won’t believe you. (Female, 15).
We’ve put together our top 5 tips to improve your mental health habits. Give these a try if you’re feeling overwhelmed:
1. Be mindful. Mindfulness is something that is always closely linked with healthy mind practices. Being mindful is essentially another way of saying being present in the moment. This can help take you out of your own head, and focus on different things. This can help with feelings of anxiety or struggling to concentrate. We have a video to explain mindfulness really simply. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed in the moment, you can try to focus on three things you can see, hear, taste, smell and touch. For more mindfulness resources, head here.
2. Move your body. Whether it’s a walk outside, going to the gym, or doing some yoga, finding a way to move your body each day is shown to produce endorphins or “happy hormones” that can alleviate stress and reduce symptoms of depression. YouTube has some great workouts you can do at home!
3. Connect with people. Whether online or in person, try to talk to friends, family and support people regularly. Schedule in time to be social. Sometimes when you’re feeling sad, it feels easier to be alone – but scheduling time with people is important for staying connected. If you’re feeling isolated – contact us! We’d love to have you along to our events and touch base with you.
4. Practice gratitude. Write down 3 things every day that you are grateful for. It can be small things, big things – whatever you feel – but the important part is that you take some time to genuinely feel the appreciation for those three things. It creates space in your mind for some of the positives, even when things might seem really tough. For more information on gratitude, head here.
5. Reach out for help. This is the most important one. While the tips above might help you feel better and get into a better head-space, if you’re struggling, the most important thing you can do is reach out to a professional for help. Remember – talking to someone is the bravest thing you can do, so be proud of yourself. Some places you can contact for mental health support are: