One Good Adult!
Whether you're nine years old or ninety, your mental well-being always hangs in the balance. Under normal circumstances, we have good days and bad days - days when we'd like to hide under the duvet and days when we're on top of the world! Because, from time to time, something unexpected can up-end everything, pull the rug out from under you and really shake your mental health.
This can be a simple thing like a fight with a friend, that one horrid zit that won't go away, losing a match or subject choices in school. But it can also be something bigger and maybe scarier - a broken relationship, loss of a loved one, questioning your sexuality, making big decisions.
So what can get you through these tough times?
Headstrong, working for youth mental health, suggests that every young person needs 'one good adult': somebody to listen, support, encourage and sometimes defend them; someone to tell good news to; someone to share the load.
Now, this mightn't be the same person throughout your life: different times, different adult…
When I was a teenager, that one good adult was my granny. I was her oldest grandchild and the apple of her eye! She was the one I went to with all my stories, good and bad and she listened, cheered me on or shared her wisdom. Mind you, while she defended me to others, she put me straight from time to time when we were on our own. It was great to know I had a champion, someone always happy to see me and to chat and listen.
Then, when I was a young adult, my go-to person was a youth worker, who saw potential I never knew was there, who encouraged—and sometimes pushed me—into situations that helped me grow.
There are people like that all around you.
When you're having a ‘top of the world’ day, think about who that person might be—your favourite aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a teacher, youth-worker or a good friend—and then when you have an ‘under the duvet day’, your one good adult will be there to listen to you and give you the support you need.
Who knows, in time, you might become someone else's one good adult too!
Helen Butler is the Youth Information Co-ordinator in Youth Work Ireland Galway based in Ballinasloe Youth Information Centre.