Young People

I don't understand how I feel or why I feel like I do...

The youth of today are living in a complex and rapidly changing world. Many are faced with instability in the home, extreme peer pressure in school, and bombardment by a promiscuous media culture that promotes an “anything goes” worldview. A growing percentage of these young people are angry, confused, disillusioned, lonely, uncertain, and fearful of the future. Many trust no one while at the same time they ache for acceptance and strong relational bonds that are emotionally and physically safe and rewarding. What they want is approval, acceptance and security.
Their life experience, thus far, has taught them that they are often over looked, as having nothing meaningful to contribute or they are ridiculed and characterized as ignorant empty-headed and problematic. In both cases, they have been rejected as having little or no value as people. Is it any wonder that their behaviour is often disrespectful, abusive and in all too many cases, destructive.

AdolescentAround the world, the terms youth, adolescent, teenager, kid, and young person are interchanged, often meaning the same thing, occasionally differentiated. Youth generally refers to a time of life that is neither childhood nor adulthood, but rather somewhere in-between. Youth also identifies a particular mind-set of attitude, as in "He is very youthful". The term youth is also related to being young. The term also refers to individuals between the ages of 16-25. Youth is an alternative word to the scientifically-oriented adolescent and the common terms of teen and teenager. Another common title for youth is young person or young people.
Youth is the stage of constructing the Self-concept. The self-concept of youth is influenced by several variables such as peers, lifestyle, gender and culture. It is this time of a person's life which they make choices which will affect their future.
Bullying among children and teenagers has often been dismissed as a normal part of growing up. Little attention has been paid to the devastating effects of bullying, or to the connection between bullying and other forms of violence. In recent years, however, students and adults around the country have begun to make a commitment to stop bullying in their schools and communities.

What is bullying?
Bullying includes a wide variety of behaviours, but all involve a person or a group repeatedly trying to harm someone who is weaker or more vulnerable. It can involve direct attacks (such as hitting, threatening or intimidating, maliciously teasing and taunting, name-calling, making sexual remarks, and stealing or damaging belongings) or more subtle, indirect attacks (such as spreading rumours or encouraging others to reject or exclude someone). Bullying is often defined as unprovoked aggressive behaviour repeatedly carried out against victims who are unable to defend themselves. Bullying can take many forms, such as physical aggression, threats, insults, spreading rumours, social exclusion, and mocking the victim’s culture, disability, or sexual orientation. Children and youth who engage in bullying behaviour may have a physical advantage, higher social status, or power in numbers, whereas those who are targeted by bullies are likely to be solitary, smaller in stature, or members of marginalized groups. Youth who bully their peers are skilled at discovering and targeting the vulnerabilities of their victims, which may in part explain the increased likelihood that children with exceptionalities will be victims of bullying.
Children with special needs may exhibit social skill deficits, verbal delays, and impulsive or anxious behaviours, all of which are characteristics of many children who are targets of bullying. Bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, and even death. Victimized youth are at increased risk for mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, psychosomatic complaints such as headaches, and poor school adjustment. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood. Compared to youth who only bully, or who are only victims, bully-victims suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for both mental health and behaviour problems.

A number of factors can increase the risk of a youth engaging in or experiencing bullying. However, the presence of these factors does not always mean that a young person will become a bully or a victim. Some of the factors associated with a higher likelihood of engaging in bullying behaviour include:
• Impulsivity (poor self-control)
• Harsh parenting by caregivers
• Attitudes accepting of violence

Some of the factors associated with a higher likelihood of victimization include:
• Friendship difficulties
• Poor self-esteem
• Quiet, passive manner with lack of assertiveness

Most of the studies that have examined the association between bullying and suicidality have been cross-sectional. Those studies show that bullying behaviour in youth is associated with depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts. These associations have been found in elementary school, middle school, and high school students. Moreover, victims of bullying consistently exhibit more depressive symptoms than nonvictims; they have high levels of suicidal ideation and are more likely to attempt suicide than nonvictims.
The results pertaining to bullies are less consistent. Some studies show an association with depression, while others do not. The prevalence of suicidal ideation is higher in bullies than in persons not involved in bullying behaviour. Studies among middle school and high school students show an increased risk of suicidal behaviour among bullies and victims. Both perpetrators and victims are at the highest risk for suicidal ideation and behaviour.

Counseling adolescentsRecent empirical studies and cases reported in the media have demonstrated an association between cyberbullying/cyber victimization with psychopathology and suicide. Findings from a cross-sectional study indicate that experience with cyber victimization is associated with an increase in depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts. Among girls, being bullied via the Internet or e-mail – infrequently or frequently – was significantly associated with depression and suicidal ideation. However, only frequent victimization was associated with suicide attempts. Among boys, frequent cyber victimization was associated with depression and both frequent and infrequent levels of victimization were associated with suicidal ideation.
Youths who experienced cyberbullying, as either perpetrators or victims, had more suicidal thoughts and were more likely to attempt suicide than those who had not experienced such forms of peer aggression. They note that traditional bullying and cyberbullying seem to be related to suicidal ideation in similar ways. Further longitudinal studies are necessary to examine the association between cyberbullying and suicidality.

The leading causes of morbidity and mortality among youth and adults are due to priority health-risk behaviours. These behaviours are often established during youth and extend into adulthood. Since the risk behaviours in adulthood and youth are interrelated, they are preventable. There are six categories of priority health-risk behaviours among youth and young adults:

Behaviours that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence;
Tobacco use;
Alcohol and other drug use;
Sexual behaviours that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection;
Unhealthy dietary behaviours;
Physical inactivity – plus overweight.

In his private practice Ventsi Vasev works with adolescents and he would assist young people experiencing the following:

Internet Addiction
Video Games Addiction
Gambling Addiction
Feeling unhappy, moody or irritable a lot of the time
Feelings of emptiness or numbness
Losing interest and pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
Change in appetite, eating habits or weight
Change in sleeping habits, tiredness, lack of energy and motivation 
Difficulty concentrating, feeling bad, worthless or guilty or being overly critical of oneself
Thoughts of death or suicide 
Periods of intense fear or anxiety 
Unwanted thoughts and fears 
Uncontrollable and unrealistic worry about everyday situations 
Deliberate acts of self-harm or injury as a way of coping with difficult or painful feelings
Behaviours that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence
Tobacco use
Alcohol and other drug use
Unhealthy dietary behaviours
Physical inactivity – plus overweight