This is Mental Health Awareness week. A cause very close to my heart. As a mother, your happiness is always linked to how happy your children are. No matter how spiritual you may be, how much life experience you may have or how well you can see the bigger picture, the bond between mother and child is unbreakable. When your child suffers, you suffer and when it comes to mental health, it can be heartbreaking when you feel so hopeless . Mental health still carries such a stigma ...it shouldn't but it does. However, with a little more effort on all our parts we can help initiate positive change.
The statistics show that young men are more prone to keeping a mental health issue to themselves and sadly this is reflected in the suicide rate of young men being so much higher than the opposite sex. Rates of anxiety and depression are also higher in the male population and without sounding as a know it all, we all know why! The world still expects men to be strong, hardy, untouchable by emotions and feelings. "Real men don't cry" I hear people say and my response to that would be....... unprintable!
The more I open up about my own experiences as a mother of an extremely bright kind and with it young man, the more I hear about other young people...boys more than girls who are suffering and battling through such a complex issue. My heart aches when I hear these stories and instinctively I want to reach out and hug everyone who is going through this, wrap them up in cotton wool and keep them tucked away and safe. This approach is obviously what most parents want to do but it isn't going to help them in the long run.
Without making this blog sound like a tout for business, my aim of writing this is to say lets all keep the conversation going, show compassion and kindness even if you don't understand exactly what is going on. If you are a parent, let them know they aren't alone, abnormal or going crazy. Seek professional help and guidance. Never dismiss anything your child says as trivial or insignificant. Listen with empathy and give them plenty of time to process what they want to tell you. AND biggest single advice as someone who has been there..AVOID throwing every single solution under the sun at them. Mental health issues are not solved by a simple 2+2=4.
Children are growing up in a world domintated by instant gratification and lack of actual social interaction and learning. Instead of going around to see a friend or speaking to them on the phone, we end up texting . I don't wish to wage war on technology or social media but it has a lot to answer for! I often say to my husband, if I didn't have to write another email or answer another text within 2 seconds of receiving it (any longer and the person who sent it would be having a Coronary) I wouldn't mind in the least.
Above all as human beings we can all adopt a more compassionate nature, acceptance and not box everything into pigeon holes.
We need to recognise that whatever sex you are you are someones child who needs to know they matter, they are important and above all they are loved unconditionally.
(Photo by Nathan McDine on Unsplash)