The world's a lot for teenagers right now. Exam results, developing identities, raging hormones, a global pandemic, bullying, social media comparison, climate anxiety, family issues, and the list goes on.
Almost half of young people struggle with anxiety and recently more than 400,000 children and young people a month are being treated for mental health problems – the highest number on record.
Connecting with each other through conversations can ease stress and reduce anxiety. And although it can feel difficult and awkward to open up and discuss some of these issues, it’s important to keep trying - because it can take time to break through.
So let’s all take a moment and reach out to the teenagers in our lives to show them we’re here.
Britain Get Talking - keep making time to break through.
A street lined with houses and tower blocks in the background is shown. Inside a house a middle aged man watches The Chase on TV, sitting on the sofa as he drinks a cup of tea. He looks through the window and sees a young girl in a school uniform arriving home. The front door slams as she enters. The dad and daughter greet each other as she joins him on the sofa. He turns to her looking expectant. Subtitles are appear on screen, that show what isn't being said in their conversation. The dad asks 'How was the dreaded school?' and whilst the daughter says 'It was alright', the subtitles read 'It was bad.' As he makes her a cup of tea, the daughter looks down at her phone, scrolling through a series of mean messages about her. She looks upset and distracted, not paying full attention to her dad's questions. As the conversation goes on he begins to look more concerned. The girl locks her phone and turns it over in her lap suddenly, biting her nails nervously. The dad places the tea on the coffee table and goes to sit back down next to the daughter. He ruffles her hair with his hand, making her huff out a laugh, but her smile quickly fades. He picks up his tea and continues their conversation, asking her if she has made up with her friend Sophie. She tries to play it off by shrugging, and says 'No but it's whatever' as the subtitles read 'No and it really hurts'. The dad asks if this bothers her as the subtitles read 'I know it bothers you.' She says 'No not really' but the subtitles say 'It's all I can think about.' She picks at the skin of her hands anxiously, whilst the dad watches. He responds with 'Okay' as they sit on opposite ends of the sofa, not looking at each other. After a pause, he puts down his tea, turns off the TV and turns to his daughter. He says 'Look, you know you can talk to me alright?' as the subtitles read 'Please, please talk to me.' The camera zooms in to a close up of the girls face. Her eyes dart around as she looks down. 'I'm here' he says and the subtitles read 'I love you.' He appears desperate and worried. The daughter takes a deep breath and says 'Actually dad' as she finally looks up at him. The subtitles read 'Thank you'. The conversation fades as she turns on the sofa to face her dad. The text on screen reads 'Almost half of young people struggle with anxiety. Keep taking the time to breakthrough.' The background changes to show the street again and the text Britain Get Talking. Supported by YoungMinds and Mind. For more info, itv.com/britaingettalking.
Here are 3 simple tips from the experts to help you connect with the young person in your life:
Teenagers are more likely to open up if your conversation isn’t the main focus. Shared activities, like going for a walk or cooking together at home, create a more relaxed environment. Putting them at ease means they’ll feel more comfortable talking.
Reassure them that you're there for them and they can talk to you whenever they need to, Be ready to listen to what they say, and try not to assume that you already know what’s wrong or what will help.
Don’t force it if they don't want to talk right now. Wait until they’re ready and suggest a way for them to let you know, like leaving a note or texting. Pointing them towards helplines, textlines and online chat services can help them feel supported until they’re ready to talk to you.