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Tag Archives: Coping

Teacher Uses Coping Kete to Theme Static Image Lessons

Engage Aotearoa went to the Far North LifeHack Weekend in mid-2014 and met Ilana Hill, a Year 9 teacher at Taipa Area School with a passion for suicide prevention. She had the idea to use the content in The Coping Kete to get her students talking about coping and at the same time engage them meaningfully in the Static Image component of the Year 9 English curriculum.

Ilana says “I have a year 9 class that is full of energy and disparate personalities. I was very worried about engagement in English and I was seeking ways to make learning relevant and meaningful.” She adds, “I was really excited about helping make useful information about how to cope with depression visually accessible. I got the idea that perhaps … it could even be a subtle vehicle to teach them some of their own coping techniques for when times get tough.”

I hoped students would develop compassion and tools to become resilient as they progress through their teenage years in a very low decile area where they have to face a lot of negativity in their lives.”

Students were motivated by the knowledge that the top two posters would actually be shared on the Engage Aotearoa website to help more people find what they need. In this way, the project gave students an opportunity to make a real difference to their communities. Mindful of the sensitivity of mental-health related topics in school, Ilana worked with Engage Aotearoa and her school principal to set safe guidelines for the project and incorporated these into her existing lesson plans for the Year 9 static image curriculum.

Engage Aotearoa and the CMHRT board of trustees would like to thank Ilana for leading this partnership and giving permission for her material to be turned into a resource for others (this will be available on the Engage Aotearoa website shortly). The team also sends out a massive thanks to the students at Taipa Area School for their amazing work in creating graphic designs that share ideas that matter. You all did a fantastic job and in the words of the service director “we wish we had space for all of them!”

Check out the top two designs below and help us share these young Kiwis’ work as far and wide as it can go.

First Place

Aaliyah for It’s Ok to Have a Bad Day

Judges notes: “This poster design stood out for its simplicity and the importance of the message that Aaliyah chose to highlight from The Coping Kete. One of the most important things for surviving the tough times, is being allowed to have tough times. So much of our suffering comes from not being allowed to feel what we feel. Strategy 29 in The Coping Kete is all about telling ourselves that it is okay/acceptable to feel the whole spectrum of emotions, instead of trying to stay in the ‘positive’ ones all the time and judging ourselves for the ‘negative’ ones like anger, anxiety, sadness, jealousy or disgust.”
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 Second Place

Destiny for It Helps to Talk

Judges Notes: “Destiny chose to highlight a message that is central to most effective suicide prevention and mental-health promotion strategies. We liked the idea that a young person chose to share this particular message with other young people. In the words of a young person we met at KiwiFoo Camp in May, “kids are sick of adults telling them what to do”. Here we have a 14 year-old sharing the message that talking helps. We liked how the cup shape suggests sitting down to a cup of tea with someone and the words Destiny chose to fill the cup with might give people a few ideas of who to reach out to. It also says something about the range of people we need to get involved in creating truly supportive communities.”

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5 things I learned about coping with depression in my teens

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Five things I learned about coping with depression as a teenager

Recovery Note #4

~ Emma Edwards


1. It’s okay to not be okay

It is not a weakness to experience depression, anxiety, and other forms of distress as a teenager. It is quite common! Society tells us that we should look and behave in certain ways, and that we have to fit a certain stereotype in order to simply be accepted. I didn’t think it was okay to be struggling with depression when I was a teenager. I thought it meant I was weak and worthless. But admitting that I was not okay and that I did not know who I was took me on a journey of incredible discovery. I came out the other end of the dark tunnel with strength, purpose, and value for my life. I wouldn’t change a thing.

2. Connection is the key

It is incredibly lonely when experiencing depression – and I almost think it is more lonely when you experience depression as a teenager, during the life-stage in which you are trying to figure out how and where you fit in the world. At a time in your life when you are trying to fit in, you fall into a dark hole that isolates you – giving you no opportunity to find your place in the world. I isolated myself and was anxious to interact with anyone. However, the most useful thing for me was the one thing I did not want to do – it was to spend time with friends, family, and people who understood what I was going through.

 

“When you are at the bottom of the dark hole, it feels like every movement causes you to fall deeper. It is extremely difficult to see that each step actually takes you closer to the light of day.”

 

3. Asking for help actually helps!

Looking back, I had friends around me going through similar struggles, and I wanted them to be honest, ask for help, and let me support them. I saw them as courageous when they confronted their fears, darkness, and failures head-on. I learned that it takes more courage to be vulnerable, ask for help, and accept others’ support than it does to wrestle alone in the dark. I learned that friends, family, and professionals actually wanted to help me. Each time that I reached outside of myself and asked for help, my burden was lightened a little bit because it was shared with another. Even if the problem was not solved by the other person, at least I felt more understood, more loved, and less alone.

4. Balance between trust and supervision

I am sure my adolescent self would not admit this, but I’ve learned from looking back at my experience that it was helpful to have a balance of trust and supervision from my parents. I think this balance is largely determined by what is safe for us. As I built up trust with my parents, the amount of supervision I needed decreased. I found that, as my parents trusted me more, I learned to trust myself more – giving me confidence in myself. From my view, the helpful parent provides love, encouragement, support, practical help, and compassionate supervision.Blaming, minimising, or not being taken seriously are not helpful. Being listened to, provided with appropriate help, and shown compassion are essential.

5. It is never the end

There is always hope. I know clichés like “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” often don’t provide much reassurance at the time, but it turns out they are actually true. When you are at the bottom of the dark hole, it feels like every movement causes you to fall deeper. It is extremely difficult to see that each step actually takes you closer to the light of day. But others can see it. Others can see the bigger picture because they are not in the dark hole with you. In these times, when all hope seems to have escaped you – I learned that I could rely on at least one person around me to hold the hope for me. When I could not see it, they could. When I could not believe, they believed. They held my hope, and gave it back to me when I could hold it again. It is never the end. There is always hope.

 

Emma Edwards
Treasurer, Community Mental-Health Resources Trust

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About the author: Emma Edwards is currently completing her doctorate degree. She was previously a registered mental-health professional, working in youth and adult mental-health settings. Her own service-user and family experience with mental-health struggles sparked her passion to support others and make a difference to those struggling to cope with difficult times.

Read more Recovery Notes here

Recovery Notes is an Engage Aotearoa project that asks people to share the top five tips and insights they have learned from or about their personal experiences of mental-health recovery or being a supporter.

Write your own Recovery Note

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Copyright (c) Engage Aotearoa, 2014