Well, I don’t wanna talk about it – part 1.

This blog wants you to chat, discuss, question and learn about the mental health hurdles facing young people.

What we need to understand, is why these discussions haven’t been taking place decades previously.

Let’s look firstly from the point of the one who themselves suffered, or continues to suffer mental health issues.

If you yourself are in fact enduring a period of poor mental health, you’re already going to be overwhelmed with what is going on in your world. And the idea of discussing a condition that you perhaps don’t properly understand, with someone who likely has the same level of comprehension, is just ridiculously daunting. You don’t really see the point of burdening somebody else with your problems, particularly because they’re complicated, and you fear they just won’t get it. Your experience with whatever ailment made your feel small, it made you feel misunderstood and it made you feel like a total weirdo. Why on earth would you want to relive it?

A report published in the past fortnight by youth-led organisation Batyr and the Young and Well CRC, ‘How did we score?’, provides a number of vitally important findings (read the full report here). By directly consulting young people and getting their input, this report formally signals that the younger generation is ready for real, systemic change in the field of mental health treatments and education.

It was this finding that really grabbed me;

“Young people also expressed a desire to be educated on this issue in informal environments and through hearing stories from people with lived experience, exploring how they maintain their mental health and wellbeing.” pg.7*

You don’t know how powerful your story can be. You seriously don’t. You. Really. Don’t.

Get that, did we?

By sharing your experience, whether it be around a coffee table in your lounge room, or up in front of a room full of people from behind a lectern, you can spark a change in someone’s thinking. You can generate an interest. You can help others understand. You can encourage others to follow your lead, and reach out for assistance to help find themselves again.

People’s conceptions of depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders are shifting – and you can assist that progress. I won’t say it isn’t difficult. It is bloody hard. But worth it. So, so worth it.

*Robertson, S, Blanchard, M, Coughlan, F & Robertson, A (2013). How did we score? Engaging young people in the development of a National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Young and Well CRC and Batyr Australia Limited. Melbourne.

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