Every month we will look at a problem that a young person has sent to the Hothoose Helpline. If you’d like us to consider putting your problem here in the HOTHOOSE HELPLINE page please send it to our contact page.
All names will be changed and different members of the team will give advice to see if we can help.
This month’s problem – Casey, 15
“I have missed quite a lot of school because I was off sick. When I went back to school, a lot of my friends have moved on to different groups and people said I was just skiving. I now feel really anxious about school and sometimes I pretend to go but I wait until my parents go to work and then go back home. I know I need to go to school but I’m too anxious and feel lonely when I’m there.”
Thanks for getting in touch with HOT. It sounds like you have a lot going on and sometimes that can feel overwhelming.
You mention feeling anxious – anxiety is a normal emotion that everybody experiences from time to time. Sometimes anxiety can become difficult to manage and when it stops us from being able to get on with our lives, it’s good to reach out for advice and support, so well done for taking this step!
We offer 1:1 support for young people at school and in the community. In 1:1 support you would be offered a private space where you can explore ways to cope with situations or feelings which you are finding difficult. You can make a referral yourself or ask a teacher or a friend to help you with this. Click here to download the referral form.
HOT runs drop-ins weekly in Craigmillar, Portobello and Gilmerton. At the drop-in, a worker would be able to talk to you about your emotional wellbeing. You don’t need to make an appointment to come to the drop in’s, click here to find out when they are on.
Coping with changes
Missing school and changing friendship groups can be difficult. Creating new friendships and making new connections is an important part of life.
Feel Good Groups
One way HOT can help you do this is through our ‘Feel Good’ groups. Feel good is a physical activity group that aims to get young people fit, build confidence and have fun! Click here to find out when Feel Good is on.
We also run a group called ‘Nae Worries’ which aims to provide young people with ways to manage and cope with their anxiety. If you would like to find out more about coming along to this group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What can help if you start to feel anxious?
There are some small things you can do to when you start to feel anxious.
Practice focused, deep breathing.
Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 7 counts for 5 minutes. This will regulate your breathing and slow your heart rate which should help you feel calmer. Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to get active.
Taking time to focus on your body by going a walk or exercising can help. Or, you could try writing down what’s making you anxious. This will get it out of your head and can make it less daunting.
Be Social with us while social distancing
Make sure and check out our social media (@hothoose). We regularly post about what HOT is doing and tips to improve mental health and wellbeing.
This months problem - "I can't stop overthinking"
I feel really nervous and on edge all the time. I hate it. I lie in my bed at night and I can’t get to sleep because I’m over thinking everything in my head. Every little thing that happens in my day I over think. I’m so sick of it and I just want to feel normal again. I can’t remember how it feels to relax!
Please help me. Jillian, 14.
Thanks for getting in touch and being so open about how you are feeling Jillian. It certainly isn’t easy. It sounds like you are going through a tough time and your head isn’t getting a break from thoughts that are swirling around.YSome things that might help you to try and relax before going to bed could be listening to a relaxation app (Headspace, Calm). These are apps you can download on your phone that has lots of themed sessions on everything from stress and sleep to focus and anxiety. It might just take the edge off and allow you to calm your mind to get to sleep.
Change our routine
What is your night time routine? Maybe try and include activities in your night time routine like having a bath, taking a shower, talking to a friend or a family member. Talking things through with someone else can really help. Maybe try and ask yourself “ What would my friend say if she knew I was thinking these things?” or Maybe ask yourself “If this was my friend what advice would I give her?” Allow yourself to be as kind and compassionate to yourself as you would be to others.
Here at HOT we run the Nae Worries Group and it sounds like it could be something that would really benefit you and help you manage these difficult feelings and thoughts that are stopping you from having the peaceful sleep that you deserve.
The group focuses on a range of creative activities to help you explore your feelings, develop goals around your emotional health and resilience, and develop some positive coping strategies to help you manage difficult feelings. The group runs for a 10 week period. If you did decide this was something you would like to try please just contact me for a referral form and I would meet with you to discuss the group further. I know going to a group can be a daunting experience so I want to ensure this is as easy and supportive as possible for you to attend.
We have offer 1-1 support where you could meet with one of the project workers to work on anxiety or we have an email support line where you could email our projects worker about a particular issue you are looking for advice or support with and we would get back to you as quickly as possible.
Most importantly Jillian, you are not alone.
If you want to talk, we want to listen and things will get better.
This month’s problem is from Sara (age 13)
"I'm finding social media difficult to cope with"
“I’m having loads of trouble on Social Media with so called ‘friends’. People are mean and cruel and say really horrible things about some of my posts. I know I shouldn’t look and I should just ignore it, but sometimes I don’t want to switch my phone off in case I miss something and I keep on looking at it just to check what people are saying. Please help!”
AJ – Hi Sara, thanks for sharing your problem with us. This can be a real worry and I really feel for you and how much this is affecting you. Sometimes it is very easy for people to tell you to ‘just ignore it’, but this can be easier said than done.
Sometimes when people say horrible things about us, we really believe them, this can affect our self-esteem and it can become a vicious cycle. It can help to talk this through with someone to help break this cycle and find ways to cope and build stronger, more positive beliefs about ourselves.
You can come and speak to one of the Health Opportunities Team workers at one of our drop ins
If you are worried you are being bullied or experiencing a hate crime, you can show the posts to a trusted Teacher or Parent/Carer and get more support on dealing with this. If people are saying anything racist or homophobic, this is against the law and action can be taken by the Police.
You can hide, block and unfriend people online, and you can choose who you want to have on your social media. Think about it this way, if you’re not really friends with them in every day life, are you really friends with them online?
Whenever you can, surround yourself with positive people who make you feel happy and good about yourself. Think of all the things that make you feel good and activities you can do that make you feel better, like listening to music, going for a walk in the sunshine, or watching your favourite TV shows.
Be kind to yourself, you are worth it!