Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Highlighting emotional and mental health issues facing youngsters

Last Friday I hosted a seminar on behalf of Bridgend Mental Health Matters in the National Assembly for Wales where the guest speaker was the Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons.

The seminar included participants from Bridgend College and Ynysawdre Comprehensive School who took part in a number of presentations through the use of music, drama and their own writings, based upon their experiences involving emotional and mental health issues, and follows an initial survey undertaken by Bridgend Mental Health Matters.

I was delighted when Mental Health Matters approached me asking if I would help facilitate this meeting. There is no doubt that youngsters growing up in Bridgend today live in a very different environment from the one that I can remember in my youth.

The results of the survey taken by Bridgend Mental Health Matters and presented to me today highlight how important it is to recognise the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society. One of the most striking memories for me was seeing at first hand how the children deal with issues such as self harm, bullying, eating disorders and depression.

It is equally important to realise the pressures that society now places upon our youngsters, especially with the ever increasing expectations that we continually expect of them. Indeed, I was very moved by what the youngsters had to say and in the very high standard and quality of their presentations, and I know that Dr Brian Gibbons was equally impressed.

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