Teen Mental Health and the Importance of Empathy

We’re told that there is a crisis in child mental health caused by a shortage of funding and facilities. But perhaps we also need a new approach to the subject, particularly in the are of teen mental health, where issue often first develop. Celebrity Angels talks to Teen Therapist, Rachael Martin about her approach

Who are you and what is your experience?
I’m Rachael Martin, I’m a Teen Therapist and Youth Worker. Having been a youth worker since I was 18 (many moons ago) it surprises even me that the therapist part is somewhat new as I spent nearly 15 years working in an office. Gladly I saw the light and have been ‘living the dream’ ever since – helping teenagers navigate the complexity of this stage of life is simply awesome!

Why are we experiencing a teen mental health crisis?
So I’m not sure it’s new, being a teen has always been confusing, difficult and a challenge. I do however think we’re more aware that these can be real issues now… and not just hormones or a teen being “difficult”.

Why is it so bad? – well, teens have a voice and are being heard now, no longer ‘seen and not heard’. The reality is sinking in.

The way of the world also has its effect – I love the tech advancements but it does bring pressures too.

Dare I mention the dreaded Covid!?!

Plus there is a huge contribution from expectations on teens and social acceptance rules. They are constantly changing and making it difficult to feel worth, value & to fit in.

What mental health support services are available through the NHS?
In the UK CAHMS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) is the main NHS support, and I don’t think many will be surprised to hear that it is currently overwhelmed. So support is there, but it is so hard to get into it. There are many amazing charities that can offer support, but specifically for teens I do feel we are lacking.

What factors cause most mental stress for teens?
I think this is best answered this way:

Jo wakes in the morning, still tired from the night before because they stayed up a little later than they should have. Talking with a friend who needed support and then got he got stuck into some videos to try and stop them worrying about that friend all night. Finally drifting off to sleep around 2am.

So, tired and hearing the holler from downstairs that it’s time to get up, Jo drags themselves from the warmth of their bed.

Whilst dreading the next thing to come, Jo tries not to think about the day ahead as it’s a lot of yelling, boring info, anxiety inducing, competitive social dramas…in short a nightmare. Just get dressed!!! At the last moment remembering today is Tuesday and that’s poxy PE. Where the hell is that kit?! Another rubbish reminder why leaving your room in this mess is so NOT helpful! Not that this information will ever be shared, now isn’t the time to go down that rabbit hole of self disappointment.

OK, kit in, lunch in, and all with five seconds to go, that means I’m almost ready early today! Haha!

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