Building Resilience in Youth
By: Darsana Sathian
Building resilience in youth is important to ensure healthy social development. If we consider psychological resilience specifically, it is the ability of the individual to bounce back from a crisis state to a pre-crisis state or a healthy balanced state in a short period.
We, as a species, have survived and thrived through different setbacks to be here. This means we as a species is resilient. In addition to that, the high level of resilience development in children who are raised in high-risk conditions is a ray of hope for those who are struggling mentally with the daily challenges of life.
If we look at the suicide rate in India alone among 18-30 age groups was about 35% and family-related issues are the most common cause of suicide. Undeniably this data points toward the need for educating people on the importance of taking care of mental health. Through this article, we are attempting to look at the best ideas for building a resilient younger generation.
Where to start: The way we approach Mental health
“What began as a quest to understand the extraordinary has revealed the power of the ordinary. Resilience doesn’t come from rare and special qualities, but from the everyday magic of ordinary, normative human resources in the minds, brains, and bodies of children, in their families and relationships and their communities”-Anne Masten, author of Ordinary magic: Resilience development.
Creating a safe environment for those who go through challenges to express and belong has to be the starting point towards building a resilient youth. That means schools, Communities, and family are the components of the environment that can foster the resilient nature within us.
Building resilience among youth is both an individual journey and a journey that we have to take together as a community. Given that enabling the parents, school teachers, and health care professionals to understand and act compassionately towards the children or youth can only be possible if they are aware of the importance of building resilience within themselves. Because we cannot give others what we don’t have in our system.
In short a comprehensive approach with practices to develop well-being within individuals and a strategic plan to help those who are facing mental health issues need to be executed on a community level. We can start this process of educating people through the media. Especially the popular social media platforms can be very effective.
The best place to start is ourselves. A change in beliefs on mental health and changing the focus to more positive aspects of life can bring forth a world of difference. This makes it easier for us to be there for those who are in need of support.
Building Resilience among the youth: The steps that you can adopt today
Resilience development is not something that happens far outside of us but is part and parcel of everyday existence. The research shows that building resilience is a human development process where a healthy individual with a clear self-identity, social competence, good problem-solving skills, and a sense of purpose is developed and nurtured.
Basically, as social animals, our issues have to be analyzed in line with the communities that we are in. So far we have discussed the importance of a community-based approach to developing resilience. Now on an individual level, there are some key concepts a person can focus on. According to bonnie Benard, the resilience that we all have inborn within us will be expressed when our basic needs for connectedness and belonging are met. To understand the key indicators of strong resilience we can use the seven C’s of building resilience as a guideline.
The Seven C,s of building Resilience is developed by Dr. Kenneth GinsBurg who is human development expert and a pediatrician.
The Seven C’s of Building Resilience in Youth
This is the ability to perform a specific task or skill. When we nurture the strengths within us it helps to build a strong character base and that leads to a confident approach to life.
Confidence is the base of a successful life. For us to move forward irrespective of any situation we need to believe in our abilities. When we learn to appreciate the smaller progress in youth that leads to the development of trust in one’s abilities.
Connection is what grounds us. We are social animals, thus a healthy social environment for us to thrive is important. Often family acts as this ground for our social abilities to develop. In addition to the support from family if there is a system to help the individual on a community level that will accelerate the development.
Character is the total of all our behavioral patterns and habits and it is important in making wise choices.
Contribution is what helps to develop a deeper sense of self-worth and fulfillment. Work is an important aspect of human existence. So if we can encourage youth to have better work ethics and to make contributions to society, it will benefit both society and individuals.
Coping under difficult and stressful situations can vary from person to person. In many situations, It can lead up to serious addiction problems. Thus it is important to educate the youth on what are coping mechanisms and how to identify the negative or destructive ones.
Control and safety in our living environment are important to have stable mental-emotional development. It is important for any individual to have discernment of what he or she can control in order to make better decisions.
Building resilience is not a one-day step but rather something every individual has to develop with the help of society as well as through inner strength. As a well-connected society, we have different platforms to educate people on the importance of taking care of themselves better. Every family school and society should be more proactive in educating people on mental health.
Finally if you are someone who is currently going through a very challenging phase in your life and trying to be more resilient, then these are some key points for you to focus on.
Building Resilience in Youth: Key Takeaways
1. Understanding suffering is a part of life as much as the celebration is. However, we can choose how we react to it. We can step back and try to see any issues from different people’s perspectives. This may lighten the weight of the situation.
2. Help is always available. You just have to seek it. Therefore ask for help, and will open a channel for those who have walked the same path to come in and guide.
3. Tune into good. The human brain is hardwired to identify the negative sides of events. This characteristic has helped us as a species to survive. But now it is doing more harm than help. Thus try to put effort to develop a positive outlook.
4. Give it time.Once you know how to work on building resilience on an individual level, start small and give it time. It is equally important to be patient with ourselves when we are going through a difficult period.