It's Mental Health Week and our free gift to you is this printable PDF Safety Plan. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, self-harm, suicide ideation, mood swings etc., it is helpful to have a plan. When you're falling apart it's hard to think clearly, but if you have a plan written down, it's easy to refer to it in a crisis. You can download the PDF by clicking on the link below.
Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. You might be tired, hungry, stressed about an assignment due next week, aggravated by your younger brother, worried about a friend who hasn't messaged you back, and angry about an argument you just had with your Mum. As a result you may want to yell, break something, cry, or all of the above. Overwhelm happens to everyone. Your parents may be tired, anxious about work, stressed about some big bills they have to pay, worried about your older brother's bad behaviour, and concerned about their parents. As a result, they may be less patient than usual.
Here are nine things from https://psychcentral.com and one from me to help deal with overwhelm. They are all useful. Do as many of them as you can. I was feeling overwhelmed tonight. It helped to talk about it and get a hug.
Many of you are sitting exams at the moment - here are some quick ways to calm down before an exam. Some of them you could even do during an exam (maybe not the jumping jack one).
Anxiety and panic attacks usually happen at the most inconvenient time. You can't exactly do a 20 minute mindful meditation in the middle of an exam, but there are other things that you can do. Here are nine things that you can do if you need to calm down in a hurry—some of them you could even do in the middle of an exam:
Kids Helpline1800 55 1800
Free, confidential counselling service available any time of the day or night by phone or webchat.
Beyond Blue1300 22 4636
Call or chat online with a trained mental health professional any time of the day or night.
headspace1800 650 890
Online and telephone support service that helps young people who don’t feel ready to attend a headspace centre or who prefer to talk about their problems via online chat, email or on the phone.
Kids helpline has a great article on how to manage anxiety. You can find it at https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/how-manage-anxiety Everyone feels anxious sometimes but if anxiety is making it difficult to do life - you might need to see a counsellor or psychologist. You can talk to your school chaplain, a teacher, your parents, a friend's mum or your family doctor.
Lots of students deal with school anxiety. Here's a video from therapist Kati Morgan. It's from the US but is still applicable in Australia.
Note: In Australia you can call Kids Helpline for 5-25 year olds on 1800 551800.
Here are some resources to help deal with the stress and anxiety caused by the Coronavirus crisis (there are links below). I think it's fair to say that everyone is feeling a bit stressed and anxious at the moment. We are dealing with a global crisis unlike anything seen in your lifetime, or your parents' lifetime. But it's important to check the facts. The news is busy sensationalising the event which is contributing to people panicking even more. Athough they are using words like pandemic and life as we know it is changing daily, the death toll in Australia is very low. Measures are being taken to prevent the spread of this virus so that we don't put unnecessary stress on our health system and to protect the vulnerable. So just calm your farm - we will get through this. Visit some of the websites below if you need help.
In her Back to School Stress-Management Toolkit for Teens, Melanie Greenberg suggests that one way to deal with school (or any other stress) is to distract yourself. The first part of this is to write a list of things that you can do to distract yourself. The second part is to do one of them. This engages the "on task" part of your brain instead of the "worry" part. The trick is to choose short activities that won't take too long. Avoid computer games, social media and netfix - they are sure to consume too much of your time.