Young People’s Mental Health - Jonathan from FLARE

Jonathan, a member of FLARE has written a blog and poem for Children’s Mental Health Week.

Until last week I assumed that everyone involved with children and young people was concerned about the affect the pandemic and successive lockdowns and isolation periods has had on young people’s mental health. But then I heard of someone who thinks it is all exaggerated. It made me wonder how many other adults think that the mental health crisis affecting young people is an exaggeration.

In the last three years there has been a 50% increase in the number of young people with a probable mental health issue. One in six children aged 5 to 16 are likely to have a mental health problem, so if you can imagine a classroom, that is 5 children in a class of 30.

Statistics can be quite dry, so if you are still not convinced here is my rendition of this issue in poetic form:



When the storm passes we ask ourselves,
Where is the hope in this sea of destruction?
Wave after wave of wreckage and rubble,
The pain we embody -
Young lives’ deconstruction;
We’ve borne the brunt of the beast,
The raging power it’s unleashed,
And shouldered blame for its increase
On our battle weary souls.
The years to spread
Our wings have been clipped,
So instead of soaring, we are sore
From confinement in cages behind locked doors,
When all the world should be ours to explore:
Our horizons diminished,
Our worlds shrunk to fit our experience;
With apron strings tightened to strangle
Our freedoms.
At a time when friendships should be forming,
Our ideas non-conforming,
Identities reforming,
We find foundations deformed,
Reduced to shifting sand
Racing through the timer around our sinking feet;
And now as the tide is turning,
The waves are receding,
The storm retreating,
We are the flotsam in the wake;
Churned by the breakers,
We are broken.
Will you leave us washed up on the shores of your conscience?

Jonathan Bryan

The Shores of Your Conscience