Manifesting in forms like anxiety and depression, mental illness is caused by; among others, family background, genes, and trauma. The list, however, grows a little longer when it comes to young people. Recent findings indicate that among the causes of depression in the youth is the ‘pressure to fit in’, aka ‘wanna-be’ syndrome.
With an advancement in technology, particularly social media, apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok that were primarily intended for socializing and connecting with friends and family, have turned into an exhibition of ‘who is doing better in life’.
Success in young people is presently determined by who updates their stories, status, reels, or newsfeed every 24 hours with current photos in happening places, has the most likes and the number of followers. This has seen those without the same ‘life’ resort to dangerous vices like alcoholism, drug abuse, and modern-day prostitution in a bid to fit in, while others battle depression and anxiety because they feel left out.
While speaking to the youth during ‘international youth day’ marked on 12th August 2023, at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth, Abdallah Utumatwishima, shared tips on how to overcome mental health. “Be kind to yourself, be kind to your family, and be kind to your country,” he stated. “If you feel overwhelmed with emotions, don’t hesitate to seek help, talk to someone, especially your mom if you’re blessed with one, and like just giants do, get up and move,” he added.
Experts on mental health also share tips like eating healthy foods, going for a walk, listening to soft music, singing a song, drinking a lot of water, connecting with nature and with friends, and seeking medical help. While these may seem far-fetched and hard to abide by, there are life hacks that can help.
Practice gratitude; be thankful and grateful for what you have as you work hard towards what you want. When you appreciate what you have, it will always multiply in ways you don’t know. Christians can relate to this with the parable of talents in the Bible (Matthew 25:14-30).
Focus on your dreams; when you’re too busy minding your business, it will be hard for you to notice what other people are up to. The grass will always seem greener on the side, but it can be greener from where you are too; you just have to water it. “Do you, be you, and focus on you”. Life is not a competition but a journey where everyone has their own destination.
Appreciate your small achievements; learn to clap for yourself before others clap for you. We attract who we are at the end of the day, right? If you celebrate yourself, others will celebrate you too, so learn to celebrate yourself. After all, you alone know how hard you fought to get there.
Always look for the positive; they say every cloud has its silver lining. This is so true, what you may think of as a curse may be a blessing in disguise. If you find out that social media is putting you under pressure, how about you use it for ‘better’ things? Learn a new skill, sign up for a free online course, subscribe and follow pages of productive content creators/motivational speakers. There’s a lot of good in using social media; look for that.
Be yourself; a little pride is necessary once in a while. Know who you are and pride yourself in that, for there’s only one you and forever will be. Discover your unique features and make them flourish, slay them so that no one ever makes you feel like you don’t matter because you do, and just the way you are, YOU ARE ENOUGH!