Kids Help Phone professional counsellors talk about what we can do to
make sure there's enough hope to go around.
TORONTO, Oct. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Many young people who contact Kids Help Phone often start out by saying,
"I'm feeling hopeless."
But once Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors start talking to
young people about the problems they're struggling with, they often
find that what these kids are experiencing are more related to feelings
of "powerlessness." - feeling overwhelmed and not sure what steps they
can take to cope with the situation.
This perceived inability to influence the outcome is what they are
struggling with. Hope is what brings them to Kids Help Phone because
the kids, teens and young adults who reach out to the youth counselling
service have the expectation that it will help.
Alain Johnson, Clinical Director, Kids Help Phone, says that kids today
are feeling the pressure to succeed, to compete, to conform. Pressures
are felt in every layer of their lives including school, sports,
extra-curricular activities, parental and societal expectations. And
when those pressures exceed the young people's ability to cope, they
trigger negative emotions and may negatively affect mental health.
"For young people, especially teenagers, goals and problems can seem too
big, and solutions seem too far out of reach," Johnson says. "Teens
tend to see things as black and white - everything can be great until a
problem arises, and then their world can feel like it's crashing down.
"There are layers to solving problems and reaching goals. When we help
young people see the small steps they can take to address them, they
start to feel empowered again."
Part of coping with many of life's situations involves reaching out to
others for support. We all struggle, and we all need help sometimes -
but sometimes we also need to be reminded that it's okay to ask for it.
Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, a sign of hope. Reminding a
young person of that and letting them know that you are there for them
no matter what can help them to build trust, self-esteem, and
Trusted adults - parents, teachers, coaches, for example - can all help
to empower young people and give them hope. If a young person comes to
you with a problem, remind them that asking for help is a sign of
"Often parents think that they have to have a solution at their
fingertips," Johnson says. "Perfect answers aren't always what's
needed; sometimes hope can be enough. Hope can diffuse a situation that
otherwise seems overwhelming."
One way of providing young people with hope is to listen to them,
without interrupting. Just listening can help a young person to feel
understood and reinforce the sense that they are not alone in whatever
they may be coping with.
Why Kids Help Phone wants to talk about hope
According to the World Health Organization, October 10 is World Mental
Health Day; a day to promote open discussion of mental and emotional health concerns, and
investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services.
100% of young people will experience sadness, frustration, grief, and
stress. How they are supported is what counts.
About 25% of counselling requests Kids Help Phone receives are from
young people who are dealing with significant mental health struggles.
Hope is arguably the most influential of all emotions. It gets us
through stressful times and supports overall well-being.
Evidence tells us that well-being is becoming more elusive, partly
because of unrealistic or outdated expectations and pervasive
uncertainty about the future.
The pressure to perform, to succeed against all odds, to make the right
choices, to save face or to prove their worth in the eyes of others are
common reasons kids, teens and young adults reach out to Kids Help
Having strong support networks, including trusted adults, who can "do
hope" with the young people in their lives is important. Here are a few
tips from Kids Help Phone professional counsellors that can help.
Be hopeful for the young people in your lives. When you believe in young
people, it helps them to believe in themselves. An adult's own outlook
influences the youth around them.
Encourage independence. When young people are able to take an active
role in making decisions that affect them, they learn that they have
some control over their environment. In this way, having choices - and
the opportunity to try, fail, and try again - teaches kids, teens and
young adults how to be hopeful.
Focus on strengths and skills. When a child is struggling, pointing out
the things they are doing well can help them to become hopeful that
they will be able to deal successfully with future challenges.
About Kids Help Phone
Since 1989, Kids Help Phone has been Canada's leading online and phone
counselling service for youth. It's free, it's anonymous and
confidential, and it's available any time of the day or night, 365 days
a year in English and in French. Professional counsellors support the
mental health and well-being of young people, ages five to 20, by
providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources. As a
community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core
government funding and relies on community and corporate support to
fund its essential and vital service.
To learn more about Kids Help Phone, please visit www.kidshelpphone.ca.
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SOURCE: Kids Help Phone
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To set up an interview with a Kids Help Phone professional counsellor for more tips about giving young people hope, please contact: