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How does PEP differ from TALK?

This article describes why it is important when supporting young people to reflect on the external world and how they navigate it.
Male counsellor talking with group of young people

One of the things you may have noticed about the domains in Week 1 was that they were all internally based, focussing on physical, emotional wellbeing, peer relationships.

Admittedly there is an interaction of the internal and external, however it’s important that we address these three domains first because in many ways they are the foundation upon which the rest of mental wellbeing sits. It’s lucky that it also helps make for a catchy acronym!

In Week 2, we will learn about supporting young people to reflect on the external world and how they navigate it. Turning our attention outward we look at transitions, the transition from lockdown back to in person; educational transitions from one year to the next; and physical transitions from one environment to another. You will hear our young people talk about the impact of transitions on their wellbeing, how they manage those transitions, and some of the negatives and positives that result from life’s transitions.

Next we will look at supporting young people’s awareness of how what’s going on in the world impacts them. We will learn about COVID-19, climate crises and social movements through the prism of how they may impact a young person’s sense of the world or self. You will hear from young people reflecting on how events like the Black Lives Matter movement or societal changes like furlough have impacted their lives.

After awareness we turn to living conditions, where we will learn about how parental or carer stress at home can impact a young person, and how supporting a young person to take control of those things they can control can help them maintain healthier spaces. You will hear from young people about how living conditions impact them generally and during COVID specifically, particularly with regard to how safety and green spaces form part of our living conditions. We will also hear about how the novelty of COVID brings some people together, whilst others need solitude.

Capping the PEP TALK off, we look at the importance of keeping it positive. Here, amongst other things, we will learn about how best to support our young person to be positive. Young people will talk about the values of gratitude and reflecting on our privileges, the need for positive self-talk, and why it is important to not focus on a negative past. We will also be cautioned by one young person about the need to acknowledge their challenges before any attempts at focusing on the positives.

We finish up the week by hearing from young people on their ‘Do’s and Don’ts’. This is a great opportunity to gain a real insight into the things young people find helpful and unhelpful when adults are seeking to support their mental wellbeing. Our young people share their thoughts on the importance of just listening, being authentic, and being open-minded, and how this helps in creating safety. The need to be sensitive to culture and history, gender and sexuality is also discussed. Finally, they reflect on the long lasting positive impact you can have with your words.

Let’s start with transitions.

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Youth Mental Health: Supporting Young People Using a Trauma Informed Practice

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