IT'S JUST A PHASE: Dealing with mental health issues

Ruth Chambers

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Ruth Chambers

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

IT'S JUST A PHASE: Dealing with mental health issues

My apologies in advance, I’m not feeling very festive at the moment. Why? Well, because yet another local teenager took his life last week. I won’t go into the ins and outs of it, that’s not my place but the child in question was male, 15 years of age and has left a mother and a father and so many more feeling devastated and hopeless.

I don’t think any parent would ever get over the loss of a child but when it happens this way, I think it has to be an even bigger hammer blow.

On the night of the incident I hugged Aidan and Sarah even tighter than I normally do at bedtime. I’m lucky I have them and I wish I could keep them small and innocent forever.

They won’t be small and innocent forever though.

They have to grow up and I’m dreading it because the world in which our kids find themselves in is a difficult one. I tell them all the time to talk to me or Daddy Chambers.

I tell them to talk to us if they are worried; or if they are scared; or if they are sad.

I tell them we are always here to listen and help no matter what situation they find themselves in. I’m sure the vast majority of parents tell their kids that these days.

I’m sure the parents of the deceased boy I mentioned above told him the same thing, yet here they are, without their son as Christmas approaches and for the rest of their lives.

I don’t know anything about the boy’s worries or situation for that matter but I’d love to be able to pinpoint what exactly it is that is making our kids feel that they can’t go on.

I think back to my own teenage years and to the hormones that made me feel horrendous; or the boys I cried over or the other kids that teased me.

Is that what is making our kids today feel so shitty except every last bit of it is recorded and spread? I remember feeling inadequate compared to other girls that I deemed prettier than me but they weren’t staring back at me on a screen in my home all day and all night.

Is it mobile phones and social media that has made life hell for some of our teenagers or is blaming same just the easy option?

I don’t have the answer to this question but boy I’d love to know it before my own children turn into teeagers.

I’m told having my kids involved in sport or music will help them when they grow up yet the boy that took his life last week was an amazing sportsman; talented in so many different sports.

I’m at a loss as to know what to do and I know I sound dramatic but it seems so many kids are vulnerable to sucicide at a certain age.

I know there’s now a whole raft of mothers and fathers in my area that are now worried sick that their children are feeling the same way as this boy did.

Yes, they talk to their children and on the surface their children seem happy but so too did the boy who we now know was clearly anything but. It’s frightening.

Having a therapist, as they call them, is really commonplace in America and there’s a part of me thinking that maybe it should be equally as common here from an early age.

Perhaps that would help our kids deal with their troubles and worries as they grow. We are very quick to look after our physical health, particularly that of our kids, at the earliest point possible.

With mental health issues almost at epidemic proportions, maybe it’s free mental health care cards our children need and not free GP cards.

Enjoy them when they are young, isn’t that always the advice handed out?

It’s certainly a lot easier when they are young anyway. So what if I have to deal with tantrums, fussy eaters and Sarah losing her s*it when I go anywhere near her with a hairbrush.

It’s a hell of a lot easier living with benign issues such as those rather than what parents of some older children are living through.

What happened last week has put everything in perspective.

Talking and listening to and understanding our children are things that all parents want and strive towards.

For some it’s enough but for others it’s not. I’m not sure what else we can do.

I’m just hoping that by the time Aidan and Sarah ‘come of age’ we have the answers.

Until next week folks!