Many people come from a troubled past which often starts in childhood. Parents usually try and do the best they can, but sometimes things can go wrong. This can trigger depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses. Examples of things that may happen at home that are triggers or stressors include physical, sexual and emotional abuse; parents getting divorced and the associated difficulties ; animosity between parents and children; toxic relationships between parents and children or between siblings; tension within a family due to financial troubles and many others. The key in dealing with these difficulties is to look for support and to use resources available to you in order to prevent you from developing lifelong issues and challenges.

While they might not have all the answers, friends can be a great source of support. Meaningful friendships can teach a person what it is like to have normal and functional relationships which can prove to be valuable lessons if relationships in the home are not stable. Friends are often great to talk to and confide in and can lessen the burden. The difficulty here is that as a young person, your friends are generally also young and being made privy to your secrets can put them under undue pressure. Be careful with this as the last thing you want to do is make friends feel like they are fighting a losing battle trying to save you. Instead, if at all possible, when things get really bad, seek out the help of a professional. Somebody like a psychologist or a social worker is specially trained to deal with the problems young people may be facing and many schools and tertiary institutions have on-site counselling available to you. If this is not the case for you, and you do not have the resources to seek help from a trained professional, this website provides useful links to crisis lines and other forms of assistance which do great work with young people.

It is important that you try not to develop resentment towards family members who are having trouble maintaining stable relationships or who, themselves, are going through         adifficult times. In most cases, parents and siblings love their children or brothers and sisters and only want the best for them- they may just be unhappy or misguided in terms of how they should treat the people around them or overcome by their own problems. In many cases, such family members might need support of their own. Remember, it is not just you who may feel lost and confused- even people older than you might feel like they do not know what they are doing, how to deal with the mistakes they have made or are making or how to conquer their fears or insecurities.

One in four South Africans will at some point in their lives experience a mental health problem. This means that in many homes, there could be one or more person with a mental illness. This places strain on both the person who has the mental illness as well as those around them who may not know how to cope with the resultant challenges. The important thing in such situations is for the entire family to become educated about the illness that the person may have and to learn how to cope with it. Today, there are many resources online that can enable you to do just this, resources that are helpful, informative and soothing because they ensure. This website is an example of such a resource because it provides insight into mental health issues affecting young people.

Something important to remember to do in tough times is to practice self-care. Make sure that you are in touch with yourself, who you are and what you want out of life. Make sure that what is going on around you doesn’t overcome you. Do healthy things that you enjoy, take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself means that you are in more of a position to work on difficult relationships as you will have more confidence and be more relaxed.

Remember, with what you are going through, you are never alone. With our ever-evolving world help is getting easier and easier to find. In addition to this, though it may be a slow process, the issues that young people and their families may experience are being brought to the fore. Through improved channels of communication, an increased amount of information available, family struggles are becoming more known and better understood. Do not be afraid, this too shall pass.

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