Anxiety is a condition that can affect anyone – it doesn’t distinguish between background, gender or social group and it certainly can affect all ages, from elderly people to children.
At Samaritans we fully recognise the pressures put on young people today and acknowledge that there are so many things that can make a young person feel worried, scared or stressed.
These can include problems at school or college, worries about looks or body image, feelings of being badly treated, money or exam concerns.
Or it can be something completely different - something that feels hard to discuss with a family member or a close friend.
This can be particularly so if they think no one else feels the same, or that others won’t understand. Feelings like this can leave them feeling tired, upset and frustrated and sometimes it may feel very hard to cope or that there is nothing they can do to help the situation.
Studies have shown that as many as 1 in 6 young people will experience anxiety at some point in their lives.
That’s why at Samaritans we want to do what we can to be there to support young people through difficult times and try where we can to improve emotional health. Emotional health is about the way we think and feel, and the ability to manage our feelings and deal with difficulties.
Having good emotional health is not the same thing as being happy all the time. Everyone experiences difficult feelings from time to time, and often we don’t know what to do to help us get back on track.
As part of our school programme Horsham and Crawley Samaritans recently ran a workshop for over 100 boys in year 10 at Forest School in Horsham.
The theme of the workshop was Emotional Health and it was led by two of our volunteers. There was an emphasis on the importance of talking about problems and not bottling things up.
We acknowledged it can be hard to do this, but stressed how important it is to try and open up if you feel you are struggling to cope.
Teachers helped with an exercise that demonstrated the benefits of active listening, one of the techniques used by Samaritans to encourage people to talk about what’s troubling them.
The volunteers reminded the boys that Samaritans is there for everyone, all day, every day and that contact can be made by email or text as well as on the freephone number 116 123.