WEEKLY COLUMN BY THE STAFFORDSHIRE YOUTH COMMISSION
On 1st December, the official Christmas craze starts. It’s impossible to avoid the mad rush that the holiday season causes – frenzied shoppers, stressful family reunions and continuously planning things that never really end up how you intended them, too. It’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. And no, I’m not just talking about spending time with family (though that is what Christmas is all about for many of us). I’m talking about taking some time out to care for yourself.
I’m not sure if any of you noticed but the column didn’t go up last Friday… See what I did there? I took some time out to look after my own well-being. My silence on StaffsLive and social media that day was a little introduction to our upcoming mental health campaign…
Because here at the Staffordshire Youth Commission, we realise just how important our mental health is – that’s why we made it one of our priorities for 2019, and why we have decided to continue working on it in 2020. Earlier this year, newly-released statistics showed that Staffordshire’s suicide rates are at their highest ever this millennium (The Sentinel), which reinforces the reasons as to why we chose to focus on mental health.
As part of our work around the important topic, we have produced a multiple-choice survey – featuring questions asking about knowledge on self-care and the support available – because we want to learn what Staffordshire’s young people think and know about mental health.
We are also carrying out “10 Days of Action” on mental health from the 1st – 10th December 2019, where we will be promoting information on local and national support, raising awareness of the importance of self-care and sharing positive messages. It’s normal to struggle sometimes and there we want to encourage everyone to regularly take some time out to relax and care for themselves.
We’ve got lots planned for the 10 days and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve been up to! We’ve planned to target 10 different areas in Staffordshire with positive messages. These locations are: Tamworth, Codsall, Burton-upon-Trent, the Staffordshire Moorlands, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Lichfield, and Cannock. Hopefully this means that our message will spread far and wide across the county’s local communities.
Youth Commissioners will also be handing out leaflets and displaying posters around where they live, and our social media schedule is jam-packed full of content – all of which has been designed in-house by ourselves and looks incredible (I may be a tad biased but I’m sure you’ll agree once you see them). You can support us and keep track of it all using our #SelfCareIsNOTSelfish hashtag.
The initial idea for this campaign came from Youth Commission Leader, Lauren Myatt. I’m really pleased to inform you that next week she’ll be sharing her story and what led to her leading on such a big piece of our work. It’s definitely not one to miss – Lauren’s experiences and commitment are inspirational.
Over the next few weeks, a few Youth Commission volunteers will be taking turns in writing this weekly column and it’s unlikely I’ll see you until January. So, if I don’t get the chance to say so beforehand, have a wonderful Christmas and a lovely New Year from all of us here at the Staffordshire Youth Commission! I can’t wait to share our 2020 vision with you all.
Olivia – Staffordshire Youth Commission Project Coordinator