At least we are talking

This week has been ‘Children’s Mental Health and Well-being week’. A national opportunity for us all to stop and think about supporting children and young people with their mental health and well-being.

For many of the older generation this might seem a little strange. In years gone-by, when I was a lad and all that, neither children nor adults would take time or be encouraged to discuss how they were feeling and how they were coping. When I was much younger, just a generation ago things did seem so much simpler – to some degree. People did not talk, did not share, did not open up and did not communicate effectively. On the surface it may well have seemed like things were comfortable for children and young people however, what we know now is that certainly wasn’t the case. Many young people will have bottled up emotions which then would affect them more significantly, later in life.

The recent campaigns, in particular, the deluge of famous and respected people from the media, pop, social media and, even, the royal family has made it significantly easier for us all to discuss how we are feeling; good and bad.

The whole concept of finding ‘time to talk’, gives us all something on which to hang how we might manage our emotions and communication. Or how we might respond to those who want to communicate with us, those who want to open up. In simple terms, just encouraging people to take an opportunity to communicate, to show how they’re feeling (or not as the case maybe) gives us a vehicle for understanding each other with a little more compassion and allows us to understand ourselves that bit better.

Sometimes, as an older person, it is easy to be cynical about what we might perceive to be new ‘fads’ or new ways of looking at things. It is important that we adults, working in schools and colleges, accept that the landscape has shifted and that we exhibit more empathy towards those who choose to communicate more freely with each other or with us. It’s probably one of those occasions when the older generations can only learn something important from our children and young people. Hasn’t it always been thus?

‘People who lead a lonely existence always have something on their minds that they are eager to talk about.’ Anton Chekhov

For me this week has been a positive week and the campaign to get people talking is a positive campaign. Let’s take Bob Hoskins advice to heart!