Youth mental wellness
Three novel approaches help address mental health issues amongst young people.
Another cohort of Nursing students have been carrying out their community research projects, this time focussed on Southland communities. Each student group profiles their allocated community, then interviews key community stakeholders. This informs analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities for that community. Each group then identifies one particular health need to research further and then to take some action to address.
Three of the groups this year identified youth mental wellness as an issue of concern that they wanted to address. This affects primary school aged children as well as high-schoolers. Many communities suffer a lack of constructive activities for young people and a lack of access to mental health services. The three student groups came up with different approaches to support young people's mental wellness:
- One group, looking at the rural town of Winton, wanted to break down the stigma associated with mental illness, which can be a barrier to young people seeking help. They designed posters, which included self-help information and promoted useful apps like Sparx.
- Another group worked with the smaller community of Otautau. They produced a bookmark with positive messages for young people, and a brochure aimed at helping parents and caregivers to identify anxiety and how they might help.
- The third group focussed on the city of Invercargill. They designed posters for teachers, a fridge magnet for parents, and a pamphlet for both audiences, all focussed on activities which adults could constructively engage in with children.
Image credit: A Sweeney, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC 2.0