On music, youth and suicide

I’m sure we all agree that childhood and teenage years are a crucial time in everyone’s live. It’s when friendships are formed and confidence is built. It’s when we study, travel, party, get first boyfriends/girlfriends and begin creating our future. Most of young people can count on their parents to help them navigate through life and decide what they want to do. However, parents opinion can become redundant when a sudden passion or a new sense of purpose takes over. We all have heard stories about young people ending their lives. Their decision usually comes as a complete shock, which fills out hearts with disbelief and overwhelming sadness. Different circumstances drive people to this drastic decission. It could be a result of stress, exhaustion, depression, loneliness or the feeling of not fitting in. Everyone is unique and has a unique ability to deal with situations life throws at us.

However, when it comes to music industry it can be extra hard!

Being a young artist, you are more prone to the influence and opinion of others. Also, there is the strong need for being liked and accepted for who you are. Being an artist provides a ‘’perfect’’ platform for that. The price of being successful is huge. Depending how early they start, artists might miss out on a carefree youth, which is the best pathway to a happy adulthood. The precious childhood and teenage years are wiped out to make a space for hard work, success and often isolation. You live to produce, perform and sell more records. Once you prove to be good at what you do, there is no stopping there – everyone wants to be a part of your success story. It takes strength of character, wisdom and determination to know when to slow down or stop all together. Young people don’t know themselves well enough to know their own limits or how to prioritise things in their life.

Is there anything we adults can do in supporting young people in reaching their full potential? How can parents, teachers and curators help them follow their dreams and live their lives without any regrets? Well, the answer is surprisingly simple. The change needs to start at home, in our households, schools and communities. 

We need to teach our children to talk about their feelings and help them understand that it’s OK not to be OK !

I know – it takes a real courage to show our feelings. Emotions are present in everyone’s life but it’s not just the good ones that we should show to the world. Building the habit of talking about how we feel is so important. This is the first step in making a difference in our fight against soaring suicide rates among adolescence.

Our children are our future. We teach them how be brave, dream big and look after our planet. We should also teach them how to respect one another, express their feelings and not give in to bullying. These topics are especially important now when accessing our mental health services can be a real challenge. Our kids are our world but they are also the victims of budget cuts in healthcare, increase of poverty and the soaring demand in accessing mental health services. They are the victim of huge understaffing of mental health nurses in schools but at the same time are subjected to a regular exam pressure!

Also, let’s not forget that vast majority of today’s adults had the privilege of growing up in times free from destructive impact of social media. Latest figures show that only 30% of children with mental health issues get treatment in the UK.  Let’s face the fact that suicide among youth is our new sad reality – a reality that affects thousands of families and communities every year.

Change needs to be big, but it can start small. Let’s use the power of social media to talk about our feelings and struggles. Let’s focus on prevention by sharing our experiences and our lessons with one another. 

October is a month of mental health awareness. Let’s stop for a second and take some interest in the lives of others who might seem OK on the outside. What’s going on inside is often a different story.

Breaking the stigma and building a better awareness is the first step and we can all take part in that.

Published by lisanilson

Founder, ceo, youth mentor

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