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24 November 2021

Taking action for good mental health and wellbeing

The world can be a tough place for girls and young women. And for some there will be times when their mental health takes a battering. This is something that DHEF takes seriously and so took an important first step to address this, by arranging a workshop with Schools Today, a professional body with years of experience in wellbeing and mental health. Volunteers mentoring girls in youth clubs, and those engaging with students and young professionals, need to know what to look out for and what to do next. Poor mental health is a growing problem. A survey on Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2020 found that one in six children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder. In the same survey, 53% of 17-23 year olds reported that their mental health had worsened in the last three years.

Poor understanding of emotions

One problem besetting young people is a poor understanding of their own emotions coupled with an inability to talk about them. Feeling second rate and a lack of self-confidence can also plague them.  A further cause of poor mental health is the pressure to be a high achiever, which pushes young people to be perfectionists with the risk of burn-out.

All these issues can become crippling for young people if they are not addressed. A key message of the workshop was that good listening skills are crucial to recognising the early signs of poor wellbeing and mental health. The right sort of listening can make all the difference in helping to prevent a poor mental health situation from getting worse.

Making a wellbeing pledge

Helping volunteers to better express their own emotions is also part of the process of understanding how to help those they mentor better express emotions. To be an effective mentor, volunteers need to be in a good place themselves. So they were encouraged to make a pledge to themselves to ensure better care of their own wellbeing and mental health by, for example, giving time for sports, reading or playing an instrument.

Empower and encourage

The DHEF workshop organisers said: “The workshop was an important and crucial first step in supporting the DHEF volunteers in their role as mentors as they navigate through the mental health issues that crop up in the varying circumstances they encounter. We hope to empower and encourage them to participate in open dialogue about mental health.”

“With the encouraging feedback from the team of volunteers, we hope that further workshops will take place soon.”

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