It is clear that change is needed
Mental Health was one of my top issues as I’ve known people who’ve struggled badly with anxiety and stress. I heard stories on the news of people with depression who left it too late. I always wanted to change that.
When I applied to stand as a Welsh Youth Parliament candidate I realised that it was the perfect opportunity to help make that change.
One of primary reasons that mental health has become more difficult to tackle is the evolution of technology and social media which is as much of a tool for good as it is for bad.
Social media figures attempt to enforce a standard of “Beauty” to an unrealistic level. This has caused people to try and replicate this standard. In consequence some people feel uncomfortable in their own body. This is referred to as body confidence and has been linked to depression and suicidal thoughts.
To add, Social media is now also being used as a tool to torment and bully by some. If someone decides to create an account with fake details to bully you it can be very difficult to find who’s responsible. I think that politicians need to be reminded that these issues need to addressed and that just because you can’t stop something entirely doesn't mean you can’t help the situation.
Some people say that the Stigma around mental health has disappeared, I personally disagree. I believe that you cannot generalise on a topic as individual as mental health. Everyone will look at it differently and one person may not be as comfortable talking about it as the next. There will always be a Stigma as mental health is a part of who you are, and is a very personal topic.
Mental health was never so much mentioned to me when I was young and it should’ve been. I’m not saying primary schools should start teaching about depression and suicide. I’m saying that they should start teaching about how if you’re upset you should talk about it. Because when you plant that idea it stays with you.
In the future I’d like see teachers trained even basically in spotting signs of depression and anxiety and how to deal with them. If a teacher sees a student has not completed their work because they're suffering from Depression but has not recognised that then they will shout at them which will simply make the student feel even worse. If that teacher is able to recognise that student is upset and talk to them then it could make all the difference.
I’d also like Schools to inform students of the signs of mental health disorders so pupils know if there suffering from one such disorder. Of course this involves an appropriate counselling system within Schools to be established if one is not there already.
It is clear that change is needed. Not just on how we deal with Mental health but how we look at it. And I hope myself and the other Welsh Youth Parliament members can help deliver that change.
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