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Youth Anxiety & Depression

What's going on in this world that's causing a massive rise in youth anxiety and depression? I've heard from students as young as 8 who have said they "have" anxiety or depression.

So what's going on?

Where's it all coming from?

There's major focus at the moment to help our youth's mental health/well-being which is great because something needs to change. When speaking with parents or teachers I'm told that a lot of the students are diagnosed and then chucked on medication. The meds, I'm told, leave the kids feeling drowsy and unmotivated. Sure, it helps relax them, but the parents tell me that "I feel like I've lost a little bit of my child. There's a change in them."

So what can we do to help youth anxiety and depression?

Firstly, the numbers are pretty shocking;

• In 2016, just under one in four young people aged 15-19 years who responded to the Youth Survey met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness. Concerningly, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of young people meeting this criteria over the past five years (rising from 18.7% in 2012 to 22.8% in 2016).

• In 2016, there was a positive correlation observed between age and likelihood of probable serious mental illness. The proportion of young people meeting the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness rose from 20.8% among 15 year olds to 27.4% among 18/19 year olds.

After receiving the below message from a young girl in yr 5, I had a thought...

Now, receiving messages like this makes extremely happy, but at the same time very sad. To think that a primary school student is going through anxiety is absolutely heartbreaking.

What's going on in this world..?

There's a much needed shift occurring towards the mental health of our youth. We need to take it a step back though and get to the root cause before we even talk about mental health.

Our mentality in it's natural form is health. Our soul is pure. Our minds are originally clear. Our soul and our minds are ultimate health.

Though we get disconnected from this through the conditioning of our frantic environment. We then speak of mental health as though it's something we need to accomplish or hope for.

It's in us. We are health.

We need to get back to ourselves. We need to get back to a clear mind - away from labels (ego), away from worrying what people think, away from our damn phones, away from TV, away from frantic/negative people, and back towards calmness, reading, meditation, yoga, nature, exercise, chatting with family over the dinner table, asking what we're grateful for from the day, and expressing our love.

There's definitely diagnosed mental health issues and I've watched some people close to me be ripped apart by these, and I've suffered myself, but these conditions aren't what I'm speaking about.

I'm speaking about the massive wave of over-stimulation of mind that is burying our youth's natural purity.

The much needed shift is occurring.

Beautiful messages and openness like this from this student is going to lead the way.

Working on the child's creative ability, implementing calming strategies, getting them moving and out in nature, helping them become emotionally intelligent, asking them to express their thoughts, and journal-ling or keeping a gratitude journal are a few steps that will help with the anxiety in our youth.

I'm not here saying all these things are easy done! It's a tough time now for parents and teachers. The amount of information, statistics, and methods of helping our youth's mental health, would leave anyone confused as to what to do. The first step, I feel, is to implement a few of these calming tools. Calming the mind will reduce a lot of the thoughts - reducing thoughts brings the child's true-self out - away from the labels, away from worrying what other people think, and toward the slow journey of peace on mind.

I wish you all peace of mind.

Motivational speaker for schools and youth speaker, Luke S. Kennedy, travels Australia as the biggest impact speaker. He inspires students to reflect on their own thoughts, and also opens their eyes to some of the actions their taking due to worrying what other people think. He uses his story and messaging to hit a wide range of topics; Bullying (self-bullying),resilience, drug & alcohol, and mental health.


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