Sometimes, as a tailend Baby Boomer, I find it’s easy to forget why the youngsters today are struggling so much.
The levels of self-harm and suicide among Generation Z (those born after 1995) are skyrocketing. And a recent survey says that 1 in 5 under 9 year olds has a mental health problem.
What? They should be just kicking a football around in the playground!
So what’s gone wrong?
Well, there are 3 significant differences in British culture between the 1960s and the 2000s:
- Firstly, the pressure on the kids within the education system is insane.
Our kids’ education is now driven by a political imperative: the school league tables. Frankly that’s a national disgrace and something the politicians should be deeply ashamed of.
It’s even got to the point where schools are dropping sports, art and music.
- Secondly, family dynamics have changed dramatically.
It was very common when I was a kid for Mums to stay at home and bring up the kids, which gave them a deep sense of security and love.
Now, because we have to have these huge houses and the massive mortgages that come with them, both members of the couple have to work.
- Thirdly, bullying and societal pressure to look and be the perfect male or female archetype has gone onto another level with social media.
So what can we do?
Well for starters we need to listen very deeply to the youngsters and what they’re saying.
But first we need to make it so much easier for them to talk. To do that we need to take mental health education extremely seriously.
The kids need to know how and why they are creating stress, anxiety and depression: why it’s there, what function it has and how to beat it.
We also need to find a place where they can share their problems. They’re probably not going to do that with their parents in the current cultural climate, but they would share them with their peers who are also struggling.
So, in the New Year, we at The Mark Newey Method, are going to look at campaigning for compulsory Life Skills education at school (including mental health) and setting up a Gen Z mental health online forum with no adults allowed.
Our objective is to empower this generation of awesome idealists to grow and flourish. They are our future.