Hello, I'm a young person who lives and studies in Camden. On World Mental Health Day (10 October), I've been asked to write for Camden Rise about mental health issues, using my own personal experiences and observations.
It's good to talk
Unfortunately, a lot of young people in Camden have trouble talking about mental health issues, which can make them worse. To help combat this, more young people need to be taught that talking about your problems can lead to resolutions, rather than bottling all of the emotions in.
One big contributor to poor mental health among young people in Camden is use of social media. In particular, some young people with a less than adequate social life will often try to find solace in social media platforms, such as Instagram.
Instagram enables people to post pictures of their day-to-day lives which can make us subconsciously compare ourselves to others and feel inadequate because we don't believe we can achieve such goals. This is what happened to me when I was in the early years of my secondary school. As a substitute for a real social life, I started making 'friends' online via video game platforms. It meant I lacked normal day-to-day social interactions and, combined with mental health issues I was experiencing, this caused me to isolate myself and limit myself to my computer.
One way to combat this, I have found, is to lower your overall daily social media use. Or you can create ‘set times’ that you check social media - a social media ‘window’ of sorts. I found out myself that it was good for me to take a hiatus from social media every now and then.
Lack of sleep due to schoolwork pressures
Schools all around Camden are always aiming high with their standards - always aiming for high marks and good results.
However, what schools don’t always take into account, is the amount of pressure they thrust onto the students, causing them to suffer 'work anxiety' and overworking themselves as a result.
This can also mean that students aren’t getting enough sleep due to staying up late to complete work. This creates a stacking effect, as students fall behind in their work due to either oversleeping and missing school or college, then falling even further behind in their work.
One way to combat this would be to streamline how the work is presented and done throughout the academic year. This might seem like a large task, but the benefits of good mental health for students could outweigh any negatives of the change.
We could help students manage their own work better by creating a more structured timetable of when to do work and when not to do work. It would allow students to have a steadier flow of completed work before more work is handed out to them.
More mental health support based within schools would also help students.
This is the end of my article on World Mental Health Day. I hope you all had a great day!
- This blog was written by a Camden student on his work experience placement with Camden Council's communications team during World Mental Health Day (10 October 2019). The author, who is aged 18, wished to remain anonymous.
- If you're a young person in Camden experiencing mental health problems, you don’t have to go through it alone - find out what help and support is available by visiting our emotional wellbeing page on Camden Rise