How do young people deal with loss? How can parents, who may be grieving themselves, help their teens to cope? Does grief affect teens differently? These are all issues covered in this week’s Raising Teens.

Our guests were Ross Cormack from Winston’s Wish, a charity giving help to grieving children, authors Mark Lemon and Martin Spinelli, and parent Helen.

🔊 Listen to Raising Teens: Grief

🔊 Hear Lola’s extended interview with a teen who has experienced grief

Our guests’ advice

Ross Cormack

Help them understand that what they’re going through is normal. Give them reassurance, listen, but don’t try to make it better. Be along side them.

Martin Spinelli

Listen and listen honestly. Engage honestly. You won’t have all the answers. It’s a process

Helen

Your teen might not want to talk, but you can just be there for them. And sometimes they will help you with your grief.

Mark Lemon

It doesn’t always have to be about words – remember the power of a hug. And honesty dispels a lot of anxiety.

Help & Advice

Winston’s Wish offers help and advice to grieving children with local drop-in sessions, online chat and email support 
Free national helpline: 0808 802 0021

Hope Again, the youth website of Cruse Bereavement Care
Free national helpline: 0808 808 1677 Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm, or email hopeagain@cruse.org.uk

Martin Spinelli’s book, After the Crash, is “a handbook for dealing with disaster—not just surviving it but mastering it and using it to transform your life for the better.”

Listen to Mark Lemon’s brilliant podcast, Grief is my Superpower is designed to help young people and adults through grief. His books for children are at Lemondrop Books, in particular, The Magical Wood, which deals with grief: “a story about loss, friendship and hope”.

Of all the subjects we’ve covered so far on Raising Teens, this one was the biggest eye-opener for me. Our teen reporter, Lola, interviewed some amazing teens who give honest accounts of how loneliness and social anxiety has affected them.

Did you know that Brighton has the most internet searches for the word ‘lonely’? In 2016 Childline saw a marked increase in the number of children who felt “miserable, misunderstood or isolated” with many too “embarrassed” to admit to feeling lonely. There are many reasons cited including the pressures of social media, bullying, moving home or school, living in care or having an illness or disability. We felt that it was important to cover loneliness and social anxiety in teens this series. And from Lola’s interviews, we found that it was something that teenagers often hide and it’s just not talked about.

Our guests were Danny Gray, founder of War Paint for Men, psychotherapist Donna Peters-Lamb and Zara Philips from Albion in the Community.

🔊 Listen to Raising Teens: Loneliness

Our guests gave advice for teens who might be suffering from loneliness and social anxiety, and for parents:

Danny Gray

Think about who your young person can speak to – it doesn’t have to be a parent or adult. As a parent, reach out to your young person and get them to talk to their friends or anyone they feel comfortable with.

Zara Philips

For a teenager, find that one person that understands you – that could be within a school setting. It could be a friend, family. And parents should always share their concerns with school. They can help.

Donna Peters-Lamb

For parents – start young and enable your young people, as they grow into teenagers, to feel confident. Join clubs finding different groups of people to be around. Breathing techniques are invaluable – so breathe out for longer than you breathe in as it switches off the fight or flight response. If you’re out in social situations, get them to focus outside themselves – ask them how many different colours can they see, how many different types of footwear. If they’re less internally focused, they are more able to connect, and when we connect, we are not lonely.

Help & advice

YMCA – Brighton’s Youth Advice Centre is a safe space where any young person age 13-25 can talk to a worker one-to-one and receive support 
Daily drop in Monday-Thurs 3-6pm and Friday 3-5.30pm, 11 St Georges Place, Brighton BN1 4GB

Albion in the Community, working to improve health and wellbeing, education and aspirations of Brighton’s community
Premier League Kicks is a project that offers free weekly football sessions to children between 7 and 18 and combines free football with workshops and lifestyle advice in subjects like domestic violence, anti-homophobia, anti-racism, substance misuse and road safety.

Childline offers support and advice for young people who feel lonely or isolated 
Call Childline for free on 0800 1111

Anxiety UK has information, resources and support for parents and young people suffering from social anxiety as well as an online chat service 

Young Minds information and resources for young people suffering from anxiety 

Raising Teens discussed eating disorders this week with amazing guests and teen contributions from those who have been through it. It was a fascinating discussion that looked at the realities of dealing with this mental illness and how it affects teenagers and their families.

Guests included Tom Quinn from eating disorder charity BEAT, Hope Virgo, campaigner and author, Mary Kemp, nurse and consultant and Nicky, the parent of a teen that had an eating disorder.

Hope Virgo’s #dumpthescales campaign argues “too often individuals are turned away from receiving essential support because they aren’t skinny enough to be considered at risk”. Join us and sign her petition calling on the government to review their guidance on eating disorders delivered by clinicians.

🔊 Listen to Raising Teens: Eating disorders

🔊 Listen to Lola’s extended interview with a teen who’s experienced an eating disorder

Here are our guests’ advice on helping a teen with an eating disorder

Hope Virgo

Go to your GP. Talk to your teenager and take them to your GP to try and access that support, because as soon as we start talking about it and get that support, we can get on the waiting list for CAMHS and you can start the process before the behaviours get so ingrained in that person’s head.

Mary Kemp

Don’t wait. Trust your instincts. You know when something’s not right with your child. Don’t tell yourself it’s nothing. Take action. Waiting doesn’t make it go away.

Tom Quinn

Early intervention is so important for eating disorders. If we delay the illness becomes ingrained and it’s much harder to treat. For any parents and carers out there worried about their loved ones, find a time soon to get alongside your loved one and talk to them about how they’re feeling and get that help that they probably need. 

Nicky

Trust your instincts. If you feel that there’s an issue, there probably is. Talk – try and confront the issue. Be prepared for lies. Be prepared for secretive behaviour. Try not to take it personally because it is a mental disorder and reach out to the experts available to try and help get to the bottom of that mental disorder and just be open and don’t be ashamed of the situation. It is a really emotional time for everyone concerned so allow yourself to be emotional and allow other people to be emotional.

Help & advice

BEAT, national eating disorder charity with information advice and national helpline
Helpline 0808 801 0677
Under-18s Youthline 0808 801 0711
Beat also offers Echo peer coaching 

The Hub of Hope, a national mental health database of organisations and charities across the country who offer local advice and support. Includes a Talk Now button connecting users directly to the Samaritans 

NHS advice and information about eating disorders

Raising Teens covered self-harm this week, looking at how it affects teens and parents. Jane, whose daughter self-harms, spoke movingly about how it has affected her and her family. Jane’s story was initially told on our blog. We were also joined by CAMHS Nurse, Rebecca, education specialist, Kathryn de Ferrer and mental health specialist, Ren Rockwood.

🔊 Listen to Raising Teens: Self-harm

Here are our guests’ top tips:

Rebecca

If you’re really worried, go to your GP. Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Look up charities like Selfharm UK, Hopeline UK which is part of Papyrus, and Young Minds has a really useful crisis messenger service. Mind Out is a really good LGBTQ charity. (All details and links below)

Kathryn de Ferrer

Whatever you’re hearing from your teenager, stay calm. Don’t react, listen.

Ren Rockwood

Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. If you’re really concerned and think they’re at risk, go to A&E.

Jane

Be really patient and calm Listen and don’t judge them. And when it comes to getting help, follow your gut instinct. You will definitely get it if you keep shouting loud enough – go to the school, your GP, CAMHS and even the police – they’re there to protect the public and can help.

Help & Advice

For more information and advice on self-harm and how it affects teens and parents: 

Selfharm UK, dedicated to self-harm recovery, insight and support  

Young Minds information and advice on dealing with self-harm 

Young Minds Crisis Messenger 24/7 for young people, crisis support for young people text YM to 85258
Free and Confidential on EE, O2, Three and Vodafone

Young Minds Parents Helpline 0808 802 5544

Papyrus ,For children and young people under the age of 35 experiencing thoughts of suicide or anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide

HOPELINEUK call 0800 068 4141 text 07786209697 email pat@papyrus-uk.org 9am – 10pm weekdays, 2pm – 10pm weekends, 2pm – 10pm bank holidays. 

Mindout,  LGBTQ mental health service

Mermaids, Gender variant and trans mental health service