Journaling has been a haven for expressing one’s quiet thoughts and feelings. The process of writing down one’s innermost thoughts, feelings and beliefs have been perceived as liberating, teachable moments, which have also resulted in a renewed perception of life and changes in a person’s behavior. Journaling is self care.
Statistics on youth depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies and early psychosis is noteworthy. 70% of mental health problems begin in childhood or adolescence (CAMH). Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians ages 10 -24; 3.2 million Canadians ages 12 – 19 are at risk for developing depression (YMHC).
No doubt, Youth, including those disadvantaged and marginalized, are in emotional pain, possibly suicidal and desperately need help.
Youth may feel judged by others and isolated due to stigma associated with mental illness. This makes them reluctant to talk about the turmoil they may be experiencing, so they bear the pain alone, thus posing a barrier to receiving timely care and treatment. They are unable to cope or do not know how. Expression of emotional distress and pain should be addressed through various approaches, including journaling. In doing so, mental illness can be identified, and early mental health treatment and suicide prevention enabled.
Working through mental distress from the onset by journaling allows youth to get to a place where they feel enlightened, more confident and receptive to care and treatment. Although research is sparse in which format is better, it appears that print journals are used more than the digital app.
Print journals are tangible, works great in the ‘Alone time” space and most importantly reduce screen time, which reportedly, has a negative impact on youth mental health.
Youth should be encouraged to cultivate the habit of journaling. It is a safe, private retreat to express their innermost thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. Essentially, journaling reinforces youth positive self image, improve mental wellbeing and build psychological resilience to cope in adversity.
This journal is the newest publication from Sima Health Consultancy.
Investing in Youth Mental Health through Literacy.