Young people in Croydon are being encouraged to seek help if they are feeling stressed or worried through borough-wide posters and social media messages starting this week to coincide with World Mental Health Day.
The peer-led campaign involves young residents offering support by sharing experiences of how they are dealing with challenges they face like tackling depression, being open about their emotions and talking to friends about concerns.
This is part of the ongoing work by Croydon Council’s award-winning Choose Your Future campaign which supports young people in the borough to make positive choices in life and signposts them to organisations and groups who can offer advice like Off the record, Croydon Talking Therapies, Ment4 and Young Croydon www.choose-your-future.com
Croydon resident, Esther Sinclair, who is backing Choose Your Future, says that it helps to speak to a friend or someone close to you if you are feeling down: “My life has recently been challenging with people around me being affected by knife crime and I was also going through other issues. I found it very overwhelming at the time, especially as I didn’t know how to cope with grieving. I became more introverted as I bottled up my feelings.
“I eventually got help by speaking to close friends and family and through my faith. When I spoke up, I also found there were others going through similar things and we were able to support and comfort one another. Your voice is important and when you talk about your feelings, it’s easier to get through situations.”
70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem do not get appropriate help early on. World Mental Health Day raises awareness of mental health issues and advocates against social stigma – this year’s theme is suicide and suicide prevention. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 in the UK and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally.
Councillor Alisa Flemming, Croydon Council’s lead for children, young people and learning: “A clear message for our young people from Croydon Council’s Choose Your Future campaign is that help and support are nearby for whatever challenges they may be dealing with. We are working with fantastic organisations who are attuned to the many social pressures facing young people today and who can offer a range of practical things for them to do to worry less and enjoy life more. We must do more as a society to create an environment where our young people can thrive and reach their full potential. It takes a village to raise a child and together we must continue to work to support our young people’s needs and help them choose their future.”
Councillor Jane Avis, Croydon Council’s lead for families, health and social care: “Young people’s emotional wellbeing is just as important as their physical health. It is common for young people to struggle with their feelings, with half of all mental health difficulties beginning before age 14. The Choose Your Future campaign aims to offer help and support early on so that no one feels alone, or unable to cope.”