Ending a relationship

Breaking up with someone is never easy. Making a decision to move on is sad even if it’s something you both want.

If one of you wants to break up and the other doesn’t, it gets even more complicated.

However, if your relationship is abusive, emotionally or physically, you should end it. No matter how much you care about each other, ending an abusive relationship is always the right thing to do.

It doesn’t matter how long it lasted, or how serious the relationship was. It’s about what it meant to you. How you felt about that person and how the relationship actually ended will all impact how you react to it.

There is no right or wrong way to feel. Every relationship is different. Acknowledge and allow yourself to feel whatever is going on for you.

Hearing voices

We know that many young people hear voices or sounds that other people can’t hear. The recent My World Survey found that over one in five adolescents has had this experience.

This can feel frightening or confusing. Particularly with a backdrop of movies and tv programmes that portray hearing voices as ‘crazy’. However, there are many explanations for the phenomenon of hearing voices.

Dealing with a breakup

Whether you broke up with someone, they broke up with you, or the decision was mutual, feelings can be tough. We can feel sadness, loss, guilt, or anger.

Sometimes we can be upset because we’re confused and not sure what happened. Other times it can even be a relief.

It doesn’t matter how long it lasted or how serious it was, it matters what the relationship meant to you. How you felt about that person and how it ended will impact how you react to dealing with breaking up.

What is mental health?

Mental health is something we all have. It is an essential part of all of us. It includes our thoughts and feelings, how we are getting on with other people and how we manage day-to-day life.

In this article, you will find:

What is ‘good mental health’?

Having good mental health is about feeling positive about ourselves, or sometimes just good enough. It’s about being able to do the things that matter to us. Just as everyone has physical health, everyone also has mental health.

The state of our mental health doesn’t stay constant. It changes, often in response to things that are happening in our life.

How to start a difficult conversation

If a young person in your life seems to be having a tough time, trust your instinct something isn’t right.

There are plenty of signs to look out for that are good to know. If you want to start a difficult conversation but don’t know where to begin, you are not alone.

Many young people have missed out on a number of opportunities and milestones since the pandemic started. And there can be no question this can impact on everyone’s mood in the family unit.

When a young person is feeling down, stressed out or experiencing anxiety, they may become closed off or defensive. They can find it hard to talk about what is going on. In response to the pandemic and restrictions, they may not know or understand emotions they’re experiencing.

Some things can be challenging to communicate. However, whether able to open up or not, a young person will likely appreciate being offered the opportunity to talk. They will benefit from knowing someone is there to support them when they are ready to accept help.

Choose your time to start a conversation

Finding the right time is important to consider. You need an adequate amount of time available so neither of you feels pressure to reach a quick conclusion. It’s wise to choose a time when you are both free without something to rush off to.

The young person may have a deadline for homework or is distracted by a football game. In this case, it is unlikely they will want to talk. Remember, your priorities may not be the same.

A convenient time to talk may crop up naturally when you are both relaxed and doing something together. However, it may not be that easy to start a tough conversation.

You might have to deliberately make the time. Don’t try to be a mind reader on this. Let the young person know you’d like to spend some time with them and ask when suits them.

Supporting youth mental health

1. Listen

When communicating with a young person, it’s important to listen. This sounds obvious, but it can be difficult not to jump in and offer your point of view.

Listening more than you talk is a good starting point. Being a good listener takes skill and a lot of effort. It doesn’t necessarily come naturally.

2. Give

Give young people time. It’s critical to really give young people time and attention if you want them to experience you as a good listener. We have all, at one time or other, tried to say something important to someone who was not really listening.

They may give this away by fidgeting, looking at something over our shoulder, checking their watch, or interrupting us. Can you recall how this made you feel?

It likely wasn’t a particularly pleasant feeling. You probably didn’t really feel listened to, understood or even important at that moment. If you’re not in a position to listen attentively to a young person, tell them and try choosing a better time for it.

3. Don’t judge

One of the reasons young people might not open up is due to fear of being judged. Convey to the young person in your life you’re not here to judge them, but simply to listen.

Assure them no matter what they say, you will still care and be there for them. You are not going to think any less of them, regardless.

Separating a person’s behaviour from the person themselves can help manage our tendency towards judgement. Another trap we can fall into is jumping to conclusions. Once we do this, we stop listening, rather than truly hearing what the young person is saying.

4. Normalise

Young people can often feel embarrassed or ashamed about their struggles. They often feel very alone, as if they are the only one experiencing these challenges. By normalising a young person’s feelings, you can reassure them.

Make sure you really listen to what is going on for that young person, and ask how they feel about it. Let them know that they are not alone.

Anxiety and young people

Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear or stress. It’s quite a common feeling we all experience at some stage.

Many young people accessing Jigsaw face-to-face services report feelings of anxiety as one of the things going on for them.

In this article, you will find:

How to tell when a young person is struggling

At Jigsaw, we know early intervention can make a huge difference to a young person’s mental health. Offering support early on can prevent a young person’s mood from deteriorating and possibly avert a crisis.

To act early, you need to know what to look out for. And how to tell if someone is beginning to struggle with their mental health.

Recognising signs

We have all had those moments where we recognise a young person not quite seeming themselves.

It might be something they say or do, or something they fail to do, that lets us know they may be struggling with their mental health. We all have our off days. It is important to acknowledge and to talk about this.

However, there are some changes in how a young person is acting, thinking or feeling that can be first signs they are struggling.

Acessing Jigsaw services for my young person

A parent or guardian of a young person aged between 12 to 25 can access a Jigsaw service through a number of ways.

You can access a Jigsaw service by calling or emailing your local Jigsaw service yourself. If your young person is under 18, Jigsaw requires your consent. If they are over 18 years-old they do not need consent.

Check here for contact details for each of the different Jigsaw services.