IT'S UP TO YOU TO START MAKING HEALTHY CHOICES FOR YOUR MIND.
"Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It's about how you drive, not where you're going." – Noam Shpancer
We so often forget that mental health is a problem that many people face on a daily basis. In fact, 1 in 3 people in South Africa suffer from mental health issues today, and not a lot of people know how to cope or deal with it.
This past week we had Kristi, a certified addiction counsellor join us on the Be the Mentor pages to share advice on how to cope with mental health issues as a teen. Kristi has a holistic approach when it comes to mental health. She deals with people as a whole, instilling hope and empowering them in facilitating positive change in their lives.
Kristi believes that to truly help someone you need to understand in which stage of their life they are and the developmental processes they are undergoing.
WHAT'S GOING THROUGH YOUR MENTEE'S MIND?
During the developmental stages of a young adult's they are confronted with challenges such as:
Physiological: Appearance. Biological: Puberty and finding their place. Psychological: Trying to find their own identity in the world. Social changes: Moving from a safe place (sheltered by parents) to new territories, new friends, new experiences and new social challenges. Emotional: Changes in mood, beliefs and attitudes as well as self-perception.
NOTE: This only covers a sliver of what some young adults are going through – some circumstances are different for a lot of teens.
"If a young person is unable to confront these challenges successfully, this is when they usually make poor decisions that can have lasting effects on the rest of their lives. Things such as hanging out with the wrong people, experimenting with alcohol and drugs. It is important to note that the brain of these teenagers is still developing and as a result they are not able to fully comprehend social situations and the consequences thereof. This makes it important for them to have someone that they can turn to and trust to guide them when these challenges arise", says Kristi.
CHALLENGES AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM
Some youth face problems that we have no control over, but we can help them deal with these situations. If they have someone close to them that abuses alcohol, these few tips can possibly help the way they deal with the situation.
Research suggests that young people who have an alcoholic close to them show higher levels of anxiety.
Here are three tips to help your mentee/young adult deal with anxiety and stress:
Self-soothe: Take a few deep breaths and place hand over your heart.
Journaling: When stressed out, write things down. While recording what it is that they are feeling stressed out about, it is also beneficial to record the things that that they are grateful for which allows them to focus on the positive.
Learn to say no: There are certain stresses that are within their control. This is especially true if when they take on more than you can handle. Ensure that your mentee is selective about what they take on and saying no to things that will unnecessarily add to their load.
These can also be found on the Be the Mentor pages (Facebook and Instagram) to share with mentees and friends alike!
KRISTI'S TIPS FOR MENTORING
Every mentee will have their own form of reference. In order to begin to understand your mentee, you have to understand where they are coming from.
Every individual exists in a continually changing world of experience of which they are the centre. Remember at this stage of a teens life it is all about them.
Remember to keep yourself as the mentor separate from the mentee. Don't let your own biases and prejudice get in the way of helping them.
Set boundaries as the mentor. It is important to keep in mind that this journey is not easy and that things will be hard in the beginning as you gain the mentees trust and as a result make sure that you are prepared to deal with push back. Don't give up.
Be your authentic self. If you are not being yourself it makes the mentee reluctant to trust you, open up to you and work with you.
Kristi shared more tips on mental health on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Be sure to check it out if you missed it, there may be some vital info that could help you or your mentee out.