Teenage is the twilight zone between childhood and adulthood. The body is transforming at a rapid rate and mind is ready to break the cocoon to fly off as butterfly. However, this plethora of changes inside and changing environment outside pose a lot of stress to these vulnerable adolescents. On top of that, academic and cultural pressures further aggravate the problem. As a result, mental health issues are a leading concern amongst the youth of the world. Unfortunately we, in India, have highest rate of suicide amongst the youth (35.5/1lakh). Today, on “World suicide prevention day”, I would like to stress upon the importance of life skills in adolescents (teens).
Life skills help us to handle difficult situations “anywhere”, “anytime” and “anyhow”. They convert negative stress, distress, into positive stress helping the teens to focus on their goals and seek help in times of distress. Understandably, youth equipped with these skills would be mentally and emotionally strong enough o ward off any negative influences.
Dear parents, here I am sharing a handout designed by the” Indian Academy of Paediatrics” to improve resilience among our budding citizens. You can take a print out or make into a beautiful chart to hang in your teen’s room to make it handy for them.
Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body
All of us want to lead a healthy and happy life. Here are some tips for a fulfilling and successful life:
· Manage Stress Effectively
• Have a positive and flexible attitude
• Be helpful, kind and polite
• Follow a healthy lifestyle: Ensure 1 hour of moderate physical activity every day, balanced diet, 8 to 9 hours of sleep, avoid tea, coffee, cola and junk food, say a firm ‘no’ to alcohol and smoking
• Share your concerns and worries with parents or trustworthy adults, manage time well, adopt regular study habits and use digital media judiciously.
• Practice relaxation techniques like pranayam, meditation, praying, bubble breathing, positive self talk, develop a hobby and participate in sports and extra academic activities like dance, music, etc.
• Team up with your friends and work together to manage stress.
Learn Life Skills
Life skills help us to deal with problems and challenges of daily life. WHO has suggested 10 basic life skills that are grouped into the following three major categories:
1.Thinking skills : Critical thinking, Creative thinking, Problem solving, Decision making
2. Personal skills : Self-awareness, Coping with the emotions, Coping with the stress.
3. Interpersonal skills : Communication skills, Empathy, Healthy interpersonal relationships.
Be a Responsible Digital Citizen
• Use your personal digital devices for educational and recreational purpose sparingly after allocating adequate time for study, physical activity, sleep and social interaction with family and friends.
• Keep your bedroom free from electronic devices and avoid exposure to them at least 2 hours before sleep.
• Protect your online personal information, log out after use and never share your password with others. Do not chat with strangers online
• Be aware about digital footprints. Never post hurtful messages online or offline.
• Confide in parents or trustworthy adults if you receive any hurtful/ uncomfortable message
Be a Life Saver
If a friend confides in you about a wish to die:
• Be calm and listen attentively
• Avoid leaving the friend alone
• Ensure that the friend informs and seeks help from a responsible adult (parents, teachers, counsellors)
· Do not hesitate to take help of a health professional if you feel low, worthless, hopeless, excessively angry, irritable and moody for a prolonged period of time (more than 2 weeks).
Friends, behind every suicide there are several failed attempts. If anyone, at anytime communicates to you regarding a feeling of worthlessness or hopelessness, don’t take it lightly. This is a “cry for help” which if not catered to might result in loss of a precious life.
Emotional support Help-lines You can download a free app for suicide prevention from https://mhtech.in . 1098 (toll free) is an all India helpline called CHILDLINE.
Dear parents, teenage is a new birth for every human. Let’s take a pledge to make it worthwhile for our future adults!