We’ve spent the last few weeks listening to teens and it’s been an eye-opening, sometimes shocking, sometimes heart-warming experience. They’ve spoken to us about anger, home life, alcohol, self-harm, eating disorders, grief… their experiences in part shape who they are, as do the reactions and support of those around them.

Raising Teens, our radio show for BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey, starts back tonight and is on every Monday at 8pm up until Christmas. This series we’ve invited more experts and parents to join host Guy Lloyd to talk about how we can support teenagers, parents and everyone who works with, lives with, cares for and interacts with young people.

And whilst we’re dealing with difficult subjects in this series, the feeling we’re left with after listening to the teens, who’ve given up their time to share their stories, is one of hope. It is also one of immense gratitude. These young people really want to help their peers. They want to give them an insight into how to deal with difficult emotions, how to be more resilient and how to support each other.

Do join us Monday nights at 8pm from now ’til Christmas on BBC Sussex, BBC Surrey and online.

Catch up on series one here.

Raising Teens radio show

Raising Teens is back for a second series in Autumn 2019 with a further eight one hour shows covering the issues that are concerning parents today. Guy Lloyd will be back with us as host, and Lola, our roving teen reporter will be joined by new recruit Kya McCartney, 18.

We’ll be covering everything from alcohol and anger to self-harm and loneliness. Plus we’ll be re-visiting the fascinating subject of the teenage brain.

If you have a question or something to contribute, please leave a comment below.

Lola and Kya
Our Raising Teens teen reporters, Lola and Kya

Make (Good) Trouble: Start-Up of the Year nominee at the Brighton & Hove Business Awards
Make (Good) Trouble: Start-Up of the Year nominee at the Brighton & Hove Business Awards

We’re chuffed to bits to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for Start-Up of the Year in the Brighton & Hove Business Awards. The winners are announced on 25 July, so fingers crossed! As a fledgling community interest company, we’ve worked our socks off in the last year to bring teen voices to the fore.

We’ve created a radio series, Raising Teens, for BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey that looked into how parents and teens can better communicate and understand each other – we’re currently gathering feedback from listeners to help us develop a second series.

We’ve been awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant (with generous help from Gateways to the First World War) to explore attitudes to mental health in women now and back in the days of the First World War – watch this space for more news on this project! Plus we’re working on the development of a couple of big projects working with teens and schools.

If you’re free this Friday, Make (Good) Trouble’s Daisy Cresswell will speaking at the Brighton Chamber’s breakfast get together on Friday 28th June – you can get tickets here.

Once again mental health is on the front pages of the papers and it reminded me that our recently concluded radio series, Raising Teens, on BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey has highlighted the positive.

In episode after episode, the teenagers we spoke to showed themselves to be eloquent and possessing the language and knowledge to speak up about mental health. As one listener said of the teens featured in the show: I love their optimism, their kindness and care.”

As our teen reporter, Lola, put it: “We will become more emotionally intelligent than past generations have ever been because we are able to express ourselves more openly and freely without shame or discouragement from our peers, adults or parents. I think we as a generation will become resilient because we are able to talk about [mental health] and communicate more openly.” 

BBC Sussex Raising Teens presenter Guy Lloyd and teen reporter Lola Ray
Raising Teens presenter Guy Lloyd and teen reporter Lola Ray

But it’s high time the rest of us caught up. The Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, this week reported on the postcode lottery affecting children most in need. In a scathing report Longfield writes:

“The Prime Minister today called for all teachers to be trained to spot emerging mental health conditions in kids – I don’t think they have that much trouble spotting them; they have trouble finding anyone to treat them. I have called for a long time for a CAMHS professional to be available in every school. Now, on the day we hear that teenagers in Liverpool are being paid £1,000 to stab other kids and the Government publicly recognises that one in ten kids with a social worker lurches in and out of the service for 4-5 years, the PM calls for a twiddle to teacher training?” 

This will just be heaping another responsibility on beleaguered teachers – today the OECD have published a report showing that teachers in England have longer working days than anywhere other than Japan. Here’s a thought – why not have teachers focus on what they do best: teach and inspire our children?

This week Action for Children reported on a huge decline in early years’ childcare and support saying that Sure Start centres were closing with a 62% cut in early years’ service spending since 2010. This means that those needing the most help are the least likely to get it, shoring up problems in later years. Couple that with what comes later – namely school stress and the relentless exam focus, it’s a ticking time bomb… We looked at school stress and what teens and parents can do to help in Raising Teens. You can listen to the episode on BBC Sounds.  

If you have listened to any of the shows, please let us know what you think in our very brief survey. Your feedback will help to shape our future projects – of which there are plenty in the pipeline (watch this space!) Thank you!

Raising Teens radio show on BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey made with Make (Good) Trouble CIC