The importance of mental wellness of young adults and teenagers is critical. A recent tragic incident occurred at Olasore international School, Iloko-Ijesha, Osun State when a child committed suicide by hanging. The school management rose from this traumatic experience by organising a very well attended seminar on Mental Wellness of young adults ( Teenagers). The event held at the Lagos Business School
A parent took the time to summarise their experience and learnings and shared it.
Gbayode Somuyiwa, a top Media/PR personality, Lawyer, and former Executive Director in charge of Human Resources and Corporate Communications at THISDAY sent in this contribution.
The goal of the event was to raise awareness for the public about Mental Wellness of our children. Particularly teenagers and young adults and to save parents and school authorities the agony of this type of sad incident.
What Parents Need To Know
Stop Living in Denial
One of the revelations that came out of the conversation was that parents and school management should come out of denial. Particularly, when signs of emotional issues are noticed which could affect the mental wellness of our children.
A live case was discussed when a participant sought help about a year 7 student who wrote a suicide note because she felt unloved by her parents. However the parents were not aware that their child is so depressed that she wants to kill herself.
Social Media Influence
Another shocking revelation is that teenagers who want to end their lives DO NOT write suicide notes in diaries anymore! They now post it on their Facebook or Instagram walls or Twitter. The Director of Mental Awareness Nigeria Initiative (MANI), an NGO run by young Nigerians disclosed that 5,000 suicides were prevented this year alone. This was possible because MANI monitored the posts on social media and intervened.
[Tweet “5,000 suicides were prevented this year alone by MANI”]
Awareness about mental health and the stereotypes associated with mentally challenged individuals should be addressed.
Disturbing statistics were given about teenage suicides in Nigeria. But because of stereotypes “ what will people say”; “aye o gbodo gbo”; “our reputation will be destroyed “. Many parents who should have sought help, keep quiet and do not attend to the early signs. The economic situation and rat race to keep up is not helping matters.
Importance of Parenting Styles
Parenting styles need to be regularly reviewed for the effectiveness. Some of the worst types are authoritative, negligent or over indulgent. [Read: Best and Worst Parenting Styles]
The child who committed suicide was not from a poor home. What that child lacked could have been parental love. It could also have been inability to cope with peer pressure. Another problem teenagers face is bullying in school and low self-esteem.
It was the resolution of all those present at the meeting that schools should have policies on what can enhance the mental wellness of their students. It was also emphasised that partnership between parents and the school is necessary.
Following the insightful discussions from experts these are the recommendations when it comes to the responsibility of school owners.
1. Own up to the challenge
2. Contact the parents of the victim immediately – should such a case present itself
3. Create awareness among other parents
4. Invite professionals such as counsellors, child psychologist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrists and life coaches to talk to both Parents Teachers Association (PTAs) and students.
5. Educate teachers ( they know the children more than the parents) about mental wellness
6. Reduce pressure on teenagers regarding academic success. Let children explore their talents and parents should encourage and give support.
7. Know your child’s friends and be a parent to them too because teenagers don’t talk to their parents about their issues and would rather talk to their friends.
It was a good response by the school to organise such a life saving seminar to create awareness about mental wellness (balanced lifestyle) of young adults and teenagers. The response was not of embarrassment that a student under its’ care committed suicide.
Parents and guardians please look out for unusual changes in your child or wards.
[Read: What is New in Parenting Teens]
Interested individuals can read up a summary of the proceedings here.
This conversation is more important than celebrity gossip, so please share and create awareness about mental awareness of young adults and teenagers.
May we not bury our children. Amen!
Download the presentation here