06-14-2017 04:13 PM
Hi everyone, I'm Ben and I spend my days supporting the team of moderators and 14-25 year olds that make up our community of young people. In case you haven't visited before you can check the youth community out by clicking here.
I thought it might be interesting to create a space where you can ask me anything about the youth community. We could cover anything from what issues or concerns are most commonly talked about to why Fidget Spinners are so popular (spoiler: nobody knows).
So, fire away!
06-17-2017 02:55 AM
Hey @chickieDo I've moved your reply into a thread of its own so other parents can read and reply to it. It's too important to get lost in a thread. I hope you don't mind.
06-18-2017 03:26 PM
I'm wondering what ideas you have for getting teens open to the idea of using the youth community? What are the benefits that attract the teens already using the site?
06-18-2017 03:34 PM
After checking out the site, I've answered my own questions @Ben-RO! It looks as though youth find it a safe place to share which what really stood out for me.
What have you found to be the most common issues raised?
06-18-2017 10:47 PM
Hey @Oceanentity I've moved your reply too. Just like ChickieDo, your post is too important and needs its own spot. It's the best way to get other parents to share what's worked for them. I hope that's ok.
06-19-2017 12:53 PM
@taokat I think you're spot on around what motivates youth to join. I would also say the anonymity is a huge component of that sense of safety and security. Many of our members experience a significant degree of stigma around mental illness and help seeking. A lot of this is self-stigma however they also perceive that those around them would have a stigmatised response. A lot of our work in the community is around helping youth to feel comfortable disclosing to their parents, school counsellors and GP's and often once they get to that point the support they get is fantastic
06-19-2017 01:04 PM
To answer your second question @taokat ; it's tricky to pin it down to any particular issue. I would say that there's a cluster of issues that are most common.
If you trace the issues back to their roots they're often on the anxiety spectrum although i would say many of our newer members don't have enough experience or mental health literacy to put a name to it. So we hear about issues like being unable to sleep, overwhelming worry about future events or concern about social interactions.
We also speak to a lot of people who engage in self-harm or non-suicidal self-injury and a lot of our work is around supporting them to find alternative coping strategies as well as helping them engage with treatment.
There are also much more serious issues that members of the community seek support from us for although this is generally 5-10 of our members at any one time.
06-20-2017 08:37 PM
Thanks for that @Ben-RO, that's fantastic information. I keep mentioning it to my daughter as I think she would gain a lot and have lots to share, but I'm always met with resistance.
I'm so happy that our youth have somewhere to turn and a safe place to share and get help and support. Anxiety seems to be an extremely common issue, showing itself in many different forms. You guys do an awesome job!
06-22-2017 10:29 AM
Hey you guys are doing amazing things over here too @taokat !
For some reason a lot of our members don't like sharing their involvement on the forums. I recall flying a member up to Sydney for training a couple of years ago now. They'd been participating on the forums for several years on a daily basis and we'd walked with them through some incredibly tough times, encouraged them to talk to their parents as well as a doctor and celebrated as they found their way to recovery.
Never told their parents a thing about the community in that whole time!
06-22-2017 08:35 PM
The forums are a fantastic resource, and I'm so glad to be a part of it. Parenting can be a tough gig and I love the support and the sharing of advice that can really help families.
Wow, that's amazing. Aww, I hope my girl always feels she can share with me.
It shows the trust and determination in the young person to recover with your help. I wonder if members keep it to themselves because their participation is something they have full control over. If they have parents who wouldn't understand, may be another reason? To have something helpful and special to them be muddied in any way may be something they don't want to risk?