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Are the kids alright?

Are the kids alright?

“On International Youth day lets all do our bit to develop a kiwi culture that values young people gives them a fair go and connects them with resilience. “ says Lynne Holdem, Public Issues spokesperson for New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists.

Young people need parents or caregivers who hang in there when the going gets tough. Being there and listening when they are open to talking, and being patient when they won’t, communicates we care. Take your son or daughter for a drive so you sit side by side while you talk. This really helps some teens. Knowing we matter to someone who cares about us is a lifelong need, and it is especially important when in that great change from adolescence to adult.” says Holdem.

“New Zealanders can develop a culture that welcomes young people into adult life. We need bosses who give them a chance; neighbours who share skills and time; uncles who take them fishing and concerned citizens that smile and ask “Are you alright?” when they see a young person hanging outside the library on his own or a girl walking home at night” says Holdem.

Young people in crisis need more social workers and counsellors in schools and psychotherapists in our hospitals but we all need to be looking out for our young ones

Robyn Hewland, a former consultant psychiatrist and member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists, says that youth at risk of suicide need prompt non-judgemental supports and practical help. Hewland says “Remember AEIOU - Ask if suicidal, Ensure no easy access to harmful methods, Inquire for triggers and stresses, Offer immediate supports to reduce triggers, Use personal, professional and community Supports and therapy.

“To develop resilence young people need at least two experiences” says Hewland. They need, by the time they start primary school, to feel unconditionally loved by at least one person so they remember they are lovable. And they need to have achieved in at least one area -academic, sport, arts, music, leadership so when under stress again they know that they could hope and persist and do it again.”

New Zealand is one of the top performing economies in the OECD yet we have the highest rates of youth suicide, homelessness and child poverty.
“Our ‘rock star economy’ has children and youth bearing the brunt of harm from policies that have prioritised economic success and allowed income gaps to widen, housing shortages and poverty to blight some families’ lives. Too many young people feel disposable. We need a a fair-go economy supporting a generous, compassionate community that supports young people to feel valued, find purpose and develop livelihoods so they can become contributing citizens” says Holdem.

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