20 Mar 19
The Scottish Sun
YOUNG people struggling with suicidal thoughts need to learn to open up about their emotions — but the rest of us need properly taught how to help them cope, according to footballer Kris Boyd.
Former Scotland striker Boyd — who launched his own charity after his brother Scott, 27, took his own life — has spoken to teenagers in schools around Scotland in the last 16 months and is learning to read the warning signs.
Kris Boyd says we need to learn how to help others with mental health problems
In a week of heartache, Love Island star Mike Thalassitis, 26, took his own life on Saturday before two Ayrshire teenagers killed themselves in separate suicide tragedies on Sunday.
SunSport columnist and Kilmarnock forward Boyd speaks openly about the mounting pressures that leave our youngsters struggling to cope.
And he also explains why, as a society, we have a part to play in providing a strong and loving support network.
The pressures on our young people have never been greater and it’s up to every one of us to step in and offer a helping hand.
Whether it’s the young girl looking at photos of a beautiful model in the best designer clothes and wishing she could be just like her.
The Killie striker’s brother took his own life
Mike Thasallitis took his own life on Saturday
Or the handsome guy who’s gone from total anonymity to having one million followers on Instagram overnight because of a reality TV show.
Pressure to be someone they’re not. Pressure to succeed. Pressure to keep up with everyone else. Is it any wonder so many young people struggle to cope?
But as a society we need to try to learn to read the signs and how to react when those who are struggling finally open up and tell us all is not well.
Experts will tell you that social media is one of the main contributing factors in mental health issues among young people.
Codey Brown was tragically found in Kilmarnock
Callum Dawson’s body was found just a few hours later
I’ve visited a lot of schools and I hear the same answers all the time.
Rather than going to sleep at a decent time, they’re still connected to negative influences — be it online bullies or all those pictures of stars looking great.
When you ask kids when are they going to sleep, the answer is usually between 11.30pm and 1am. That’s not right.
When you look at how far social media has developed in the last ten or 15 years, you realise it’s time the executives running these organisations had a look at themselves.
[quote]THE pressures on our young people have never been greater and it’s up to every one of us to step in and offer a helping hand.”[/quote]
The technology is there to prevent children being online between 11pm and 8am.
That gives them the chance to actually sleep rather than check their phone.
And the stuff they are worrying about is usually completely false — whether it’s friends going on great holidays, eating fantastic meals or buying new clothes every day.
The reality is those lives aren’t always that wonderful and they have created a false image, but young people feel a need to keep up.
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My pet hate is people posting about the lovely steak or lobsters they’re eating. You don’t post photos of the beans and toast you’re having the rest of the week.
And you don’t need to rub it in that you’re away somewhere nice by posting stunning photos and writing things like “I’ve had worse Tuesdays”. The tragedy with Love Island’s Mike Thalassitis demonstrates pressure at the other end of the spectrum — when a young person lives the dream and it lets them down.
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It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
With reality TV you effectively take people off the street and then all of a sudden they have one million followers. And they don’t know how to cope.
In that regard, showbiz and football are similar. Young men and women struggling to cope with rejection.
What happened with my little brother Scott prompted me to set up my charity and get involved in this, but even before then I saw a problem with football. You have youngsters signing for a club at 16 and they think they’re footballers and then all of a sudden they’re faced with rejection. And many can’t deal with that.
And as parents we need to be aware of that and there needs to be a greater support network around young people who are chasing a dream and suddenly have to try to cope with rejection.
We need to learn to understand what people are going through and also to give those who are listening the right tools to help those who are struggling. So that when they do finally confide, we respond in the correct way.
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Educating people to learn to read the warning signs is crucial.
There are guys I’ve played with where you look at them and think ‘Wow, what a great life he has and everything is great’ but deep down they’re not happy. I’ve seen it in dressing rooms up and down the country.
People behave in certain manners to deflect from what is really going on.
They need to learn to open up more. But when they do, it’s up to the rest of us to respond in the best way possible.
That will save lives.
DO you need help? Call Samaritans free on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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