Therapies — 22 December 2017

The end of the year can be stressful for young people. Picture: ANGELA WYLIE

It is meant to be a fun, festive time, but the end of the year can bring stress and difficulties for some young people, a mental health organisation says.

headspace chief executive officer Jason Trethowan said some people found this time of year tough, especially those experiencing isolation, loneliness or mental health issues.

Mr Trethowan said many young people also faced significant life changes around the end of the year, such as starting a new job, moving to a new school and receiving exam results.

“Losing the normal routine and structure of school, regular contact with friends or having to financially support themselves can make this time particularly challenging,” he said.

Bendigo headspace senior clinician Meg Bennett said Christmastime could also present challenges related to family dynamics, for example, when parents had split up.

She said for some people, it would be the first Christmas spent without a loved one who had died earlier in the year, which could be difficult.

headspace recommends young people take care of themselves by eating well, sleeping well, staying socially involved with friends, clubs or sport, and spending time simply having fun.

Miss Bennett said they should make time to relax, taking time for themselves.

The organisation has suggested activities for young people to maintain good mental health, including finding a casual job, making a list of places to visit and things to do, undertaking a creative project, getting active, and volunteering.

For those who are dealing with disappointing exam results, the University of Melbourne’s Dr Chelsea Hyde recommends keeping perspective by remembering results do not define a person; using coping strategies and being self-compassionate; reflecting on what can be learnt from the experience; make back-up plans; and letting parents or carers know how they can be of support.

For more information on staying well mentally, visit the headspace website. The organisation also has tips on how parents and carers can help support young people.

If you need immediate assistance for a mental health issue, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Children and young people can visit the Bendigo headspace office at 78-80 Pall Mall, or call headspace on 1800 650 890 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

You should also talk to your GP or someone you trust.

This piece was first seen on ‘The Bendigo Advisor’ 21 December 2017.

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