Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Young seek more mental health help

Counselling service Relate sees around 15,000 youngsters each year

Young people are increasingly seeking help from counsellors for mental health problems alongside anger management, according to new research.

Relate sees around 15,000 youngsters each year but its experts say young people are increasingly being referred for mental health problems.

Other reasons include dealing with parents splitting up, low self-esteem and managing anger.

A poll of 143 Relate counsellors found 64% saying mental health and depression was the most common new issue affecting young people.

Other issues include an increase in family break-up (cited by 41% of counsellors), parents having mental health conditions (23%) and pressures of social media (21%).

A separate poll of more than 1,000 teenagers aged 13 to 18 found one in 10 said no one inspired them. Almost three-quarters (74%) said they had felt stressed at least sometimes over the last month, with 31% saying they felt stressed often or all the time.

Girls were more likely to feel stressed than boys. Some 37% of girls said they felt stressed often or all the time over the last month, compared to 24% of boys. More than one in five teenagers said they had most recently been let down by a friend (22%) followed by 11% saying a politician.

Sharon Chapman, Relate young people's counsellor, said: "We know that young people under stress may express their feelings of anger in destructive ways, but unless we tackle the causes rather than focusing on the behaviour we are creating a cycle that may be hard to break.

"Children look to their parents and families to learn how to express feelings safely; so make time to talk with them, find out what bothers them, upsets them. Try to listen without judging or telling them what to do.

"Work out together how to tackle difficult or painful feelings and stressful situations. Boost their self worth and notice when they do well."

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