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Mental health, personality disorder and self-love: 5 VoiceBox articles every parent should read

In 2020, our sister organisation Youth Zone launched VoiceBox – an international content platform for young people aged 14 to 25 to talk about the issues that matter to them. 

This is important: far too often, conversations are had about issues affecting young people, without actually offering young people themselves a say. VoiceBox aims to change this – to let young voices set the agenda and speak for themselves.

The talented team of VoiceBox contributors give us the chance to understand the issues important to young people right now. We’ve rounded up five of the best...

1. Why is it crucial that students get mental health support in schools?

There has been growing awareness around the state of children and young people’s mental health in recent years – particularly since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Our research found that nearly a third of parents felt their child’s mental health and wellbeing got worse during lockdown. 

This emotive article helps parents understand mental health struggles from a student’s perspective. Written by a US high school junior, it tackles the issue and the importance of schools and colleges providing robust mental health support for anyone struggling.

The writer shares her experience of helping a friend with mental health issues. Unfortunately, despite trying to get him support, her friend died by suicide. She then reveals the insufficient support she and her peers were offered following his death. 

There are many organisations who can support families and children of all ages with mental health struggles. Click here for where to go for advice.

2. Are there benefits to not going to university?

A recent article found that, despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic, record numbers have applied for university places this year. But should it be a default move for school leavers?

In this article, a contributor shares her experience of not going to university after school. Unsure what to study and put off by the extortionate fees, she explores the feelings she went through watching school friends take advantage of the parties, lifestyle and sense of freedom that being a student brings. 

Reflecting on her decision, now in her early twenties, she is glad she chose instead to find an area of employment that she loved, forging a career and subsequently embarking upon a diploma in her chosen field.

If your teen is struggling with what to do next, remind them that university is just one of many routes. They might find it helpful to read Isabella’s story and see that university isn’t for everyone. 

3. What’s it like to live with a parent who has a personality disorder?

Mia openly shares what her childhood was like growing up with a mother who has Borderline Personality Disorder. She explains, as an adult, how therapy has helped her come to terms with the relationship she has with her mother – and the differences in how they perceive the world. 

Many parents are living with mental health issues – and this article enables you to see through the eyes of the children who are dealing with challenging home environments or even acting as young carers looking after their parents or siblings. 

4. What’s it like to have attention deficit disorder?

We may know a child who has been labelled as naughty or disruptive in class – but have you ever wondered what might be behind their behaviour? 

Henry always struggled to concentrate at school and was getting into trouble for messing around in class. He struggled to settle into his new secondary school, was frequently punished for disrupting lessons, and was disappointed with his GCSE results. 

However, after undertaking some personal research, he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The diagnosis changed Henry’s – and his school’s – perspective on his behaviour, as they jointly figured out the learning support Henry needed. 

5. Why we all need a little more self-love

Finally, have a watch of a beautiful spoken word poem video from Maryam, who advocates the need for everyone to show a little more self-love. As she says, “You need to forgive the demons you have in your head -- You learn to hold their hands and sing with them instead -- You learn you aren’t alone, we are all scared, with the scars and monsters that creep at our bed -- You learn to look in the mirror and love your body, the dips the curves -- You learn you are perfect, you are special.” 

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