Grounding Young People
World Mental Health Day 10th October 2018
puts the spotlight on Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.
Members’ acrylic paintings map out places and people that are important in their lives. With this exhibition we want to raise awareness that feeling part of a community is the best ‘medicine’ to maintaining good mental health.
A survey released this October 2018 by BBC Radio 4 found that 16-24 year olds are the loneliest age group in the UK. Young people have to face a world where human rights are violated wherever they look including cyber crimes, cyber bullying, and violent video games. Additionally, young people face a huge range of pressures from achieving in education, fitting in socially, conforming to gender roles, portraying a certain image online, as well as dealing with family breakdowns.
Youth loneliness is not taken seriously by society and so it can feel like a personal failing. By putting children and young people’s feelings down as ‘typically teen moodiness’ we silence and disempower them and we are putting their mental well-being at risk.
Most young people will come through challenging life events without serious harm. However, the NHS reports 24.3% of people registered with mental health services are aged under 19, and that the number of girls and boys self-harming is increasing at an alarming rate. In the UK suicide is the leading cause of death in young people and over half of those who die by suicide have a history of self-harm.
Framing young people’s experience of loneliness in medical terms such as depression or anxiety is not useful and will only reinforce the sense of shame and stigma many of them feel. Instead of keeping their feelings bottled up, we need to encourage young people to talk about how they feel, help them understand loneliness as a normal experience and legitimate feelings for them to express.
What does it take to grow up healthy, happy and resilient?
Human beings are by nature very sociable and we need to take time to listen and exchange experiences, have fun, and connect to our peers. The BBC survey shows that 61% of young people say that taking part in group activities is the best solution to tackle loneliness because sharing an interest is the simplest way to make new friends.
Arty-Folks received £75,000 from the Heart of England Community Foundation
to run a 3 year programme for young people 18-28 year old who are struggling to find their own way forward. Weekly “Making Headway” group offers art for self-development combined with 1:1 life skills coaching, and inter-generational mentoring. The project is in its second year and it has helped our young people to push through their fears and start Foundation in Art and Design at University, college courses towards and employment.
Feedback from a young service user: “Arty-Folks is a safe place for me where I made my first friends after 4years of being in Coventry, where I feel comfortable being myself. The group has helped me become mentally stronger and I am now back at Uni.”
Arty-Folks “Making Headway” group provides young people with opportunities to meet with other like-minded people and and promotes a sense of belonging to a community.
To join Arty-Folks therapeutic art programme: every Wednesday 12.30-2.30 at Holyhead Studios (formerly known as Artspace), 16 Lower Holyhead Road, CV1 3AU.