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“There’s more to life than current pressures” – Being a young person in Harrogate

Teenage years. Often labelled as awkward and slightly dysfunctional. You’re treated differently; you’re not quite an adult but you’re definitely not a child anymore. Pressures start with school, revision, homework, exams….

That’s not even to mention relationship issues, underage drinking, peer pressure, parties, puberty, social media and mental health. The list is endless.

Teenagehood? Perhaps it should be renamed teenage-should. Young people are often swamped by a constant instructions of ‘dos and don’ts’ that life throws at them. There’s a need to fit in and it’s hard to know how.

With the use of Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, this ongoing pressure continues outside of the classroom.

A recent enquiry led by MPs and top children’s charities, revealed the addictive nature of social media. One in ten (9%) young people surveyed admitted to logging on after midnight every night and one young person said it was “almost like a drug”. Young people expressed that they feel “judged and inadequate if they didn’t have enough likes or followers.”

The enquiry also noted that young people who use social media a lot of the time are more likely to have ‘low wellbeing and symptoms of anxiety and depression.’

In fact, according to YoungMinds, 1 in 5 young adults and 1 in 10 children (that’s roughly 3 children in every classroom) have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Rob is a youth leader and a local secondary school teacher from Harrogate. He said:

There is definitely an increase in exam stress and pressure to do well. This pressure often has a negative impact on social development.

And if schoolwork isn’t hard enough, he added: “Outside of the classroom, everything is focussed on phones, especially Snapchat. This has an adverse affect on teenagers’ perceptions on not only themselves but also the world around them.”

In a town like Harrogate, there’s not a lot for young people to do.

They can often get stuck in the ‘routine of life’ of school, homework, tea, social media, bed. Many young people don’t know how to talk about their problems and may isolate themselves or get stuck in a rut.

It is estimated that in the Harrogate and Rural District, there are 4645 children and young people between the age of 5 and 19 with a mental disorder. (Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group, 2015).

Rob sees young people struggling with society’s burdens everyday. He said: “I’d like to tell teenagers to remember that there is more to life than their current pressures and that no one should face issues alone. There’s always someone to talk to and the more we talk about it, the more these issues can be tackled together.”

The Hub soon hopes to open its doors on an evening once a week to provide pastoral care and mentoring support to young people. We want to show love and care to those who are struggling at school, facing challenges at home, or suffering from a severe loss of self-confidence and self-esteem.

 ‘Young people are the hope for the future in the making. They need to be shown that they matter, that they are valued’, says Jo-Ann Hughes, Hub Executive Director. ‘They need positive role models who demonstrate how to develop healthy attitudes and caring relationships. All too common now is the issue of self-harm and anxiety. Our children need to know who to trust, where to turn for healthy advice and reassurance. This is why we would like to open our doors to teenagers for safe mentoring at the Harrogate Hub.’

Could you help us provide support for young people?

We are looking for youth groups who want to give some of their time and creativity to fundraise for the Hub’s work with vulnerable young people. Through partnering with us, local young people will be helping to support their peers. Together we can see lives transformed across the community.

If you would be interested in fundraising for the work of the Harrogate Hub, would like to give on a monthly basis, or have experience in working with young people and would like to volunteer, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and find out about your heart for young people in Harrogate.

And if you have any further thoughts on the kinds of challenges facing teenagers in our local area, please do comment or engage with us on social media. We want to raise awareness of the hidden needs in our town to build a stronger, healthier community, where no one has to suffer in silence.

You can join the discussion on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Written by Rachel Williams

Edited by Ella Green

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Domestic and Sexual Abuse happens in Harrogate – join in the conversation

This month, we’re starting a conversation about domestic abuse and relationship issues. February marks Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness week, beginning today and ending on the 11th February.

Domestic abuse and sexual abuse happens to people you may know or walk past everyday. It happens in Harrogate. It may have happened to you. It’s time to start talking about what is acceptable when it comes to relationships and sexual violence and how the Harrogate Hub can help.

Domestic violence is a type of abuse that can be physical, emotional, mental as well as sexual. Whilst many of us may be celebrating Valentine’s Day with our loved ones this month, there are others in our town whose relationships aren’t all what they seem to be on the outside.

In fact, it is estimated that 150-200 people per month seek support for domestic abuse in Harrogate.

This is where the awareness week comes in.

Single, or in a relationship; or like me, in a happy, loving and respectful relationship, it can be hard to believe that anyone could ever be abusive in a partnership.

Sometimes people might not know it themselves.

As I was scrolling through twitter last week, I saw these tweets from West Yorkshire police, which really got me thinking:

Domestic abuse isn’t always obvious.

It can often start with subtle actions from a partner like text messages or controlling behaviour.  Often those abused don’t notice the signs at first.

These subtle actions can escalate. In some cases, they can escalate so much that for some women there is no escape; 2 women in England and Wales die because of domestic abuse on average each week, according to Homicide Statistics.

It’s not just women who suffer but as seen in the tweet above, 1 in 6 men experience some form of abuse within a relationship.

It’s important to notice the signs. You may feel afraid of your partner or feel like they’re always criticising you. Perhaps you’re too embarrassed to mention these feelings to friends or family.

At the Hub we are here to help those who feel they’ve got nowhere to turn.

We help by listening and offering support, and we can signpost to IDAS, the Independent Domestic Abuse Services.

We can help you through the process of getting in touch with IDAS or other specialist services, and we will continue to offer our support – we won’t withdraw our help once we’ve signposted you. We’ll continue to walk alongside you on your journey for as long as you want.

Speaking about the new Domestic Abuse Awareness Campaign on North Yorkshire Police’s website, Sarah Hill, Director at IDAS said:

“IDAS are delighted to be able to launch a new awareness campaign with the support of the OPCC and NYP.  Over the next 6 months, the campaign will provide a range of information about domestic abuse and about the services available for victims of abuse.

For every person who reports or seeks help because of abuse, four more people do not report or access any support or help at all.  

This campaign will reach out to those people and help them access services and support when they need it.  This will increase reporting, reduce risk and help more people live a life that is free from harm and violence.”

If you or anyone you know in Harrogate show any signs of being a victim of domestic abuse, please get in touch with the Harrogate Hub or IDAS. Or if you are experiencing or have experienced sexual abuse, please don’t stay silent. You can call us during our open hours on 01423 369393  or drop in to our welcome centre on 39 Oxford Street, Mondays-Fridays, 10-12 noon, and Mondays-Thursdays, 2-4pm.

Abusive behaviour is not ok, but it’s definitely ok to talk about it.

Follow the hashtag #itsnotok to read other people’s stories.

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Check out this site for more helpful guidance:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

 

 

Written by Rachel Williams

Edited by Ella Green

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