Opinion

Letters to the editor

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December 14, 2017

Mental health support is available at headspace throughout the holiday period to young people aged 12 to 25.

Support is available

- Jason Trethowan headspace chief executive

The year is coming to an end, and this is a great time to reflect and express our gratitude for all the things that have happened this year.

For many of us, it’s a time to finish work or school for the year, unwind and settle into holiday mode.

Other people may find the festive season very difficult, particularly those experiencing isolation, loneliness or mental health issues. These experiences can all be heightened as we are bombarded with messages of family celebrations, gifts and holidays.

As well as this, thousands of young people may be facing big life changes over the coming months, such as starting a new school, awaiting exam results for higher education opportunities or beginning a job.

Losing the normal routine and structure of school, regular contact with friends or having to financially support themselves can make this time particularly challenging.

Students in university or TAFE may also be facing stressors at this time affecting their mental health and wellbeing. Some young people may have less parental contact, leaving them vulnerable and changes in their mental health going unnoticed.

Families and friends are key in helping a young person get support. Knowing the signs and symptoms that something might be wrong and then how to get help is important. For anyone supporting a young person, they don’t need to be able to solve everything. However, noticing changes and signs that something isn’t right is a good first step.

Being withdrawn, not wanting to be with friends, not doing the things they would normally enjoy, ongoing worry or irritability are just some of the things to look out for.

If you need support or advice, headspace is here to help. As the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace provides support to young people aged 12 to 25 who are going through a tough time.

This can include support around mental health, physical health, work and study or alcohol and other drugs.

No matter where you are, you can access help through one of our 100 centres in metro, regional and remote areas of Australia, which you can locate on our website headspace.org.au

There are also various resources for young people, families and friends covering different mental health issues and self-care strategies. Help can also be accessed via eheadspace.org.au providing online and telephone support between 9am and 1am (AEDT) seven days a week, including Christmas Day.

From everyone at headspace, we wish you and your family a safe, relaxing and enjoyable break over the holidays.

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