Adolescence is a developmental phase immersed in rapid physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. Teens are trying to identify and analyze their personalities; they’re starting to fabricate a base for their careers and relationships, and they’re repeatedly reminded of how pivotal this time of their lives is. The pressure, competition and expectations can be daunting and can take a heavy toll on teen mental health.
Teen mental health is a wide spectrum influenced by various factors. It is a concern that not only bothers teens and their parents & guardians but also society in general. The youth are the future, and if they’re actually living with the gnawing feelings of stress and loneliness, they fail to live up to their full potential, they fail to live at all. Most of the time, what teens need is not guidance or supervision to feel mentally healthy, they need a companion they can talk to and authentically relate to. A community can help wonderfully in achieving just that.
What is a community?
Being part of a community gives teens a sense of association and inclusion. Stress factors differ with respect to the age group that one belongs to. Parents sometimes negate and condescend to the problems of their teens by assuming them to be trivial and futile. Comprehension becomes difficult because of the generational gap. A community helps with that by making teens feel accepted and supported, which further helps them cope better with all the critical changes they’re going through and maintains teen mental health.
Humans are social beings, and we thrive in an environment of companionship and social acceptance. Loneliness and isolation are the root causes of appalling teen mental health. It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert, an extrovert or an ambivert. Your community can be as small as 2 or 3 people, whatever feels comfortable to you, but being a part of such a group is important beyond measure for teen mental health. The best thing about a community is that its concept is not rigid about the number of people it should contain.
How does the community help in managing teen mental health?
- A Sense of Belongingness
A community not only helps teens make connections but gradually becomes a safe space for teens to candidly be themselves, the most genuine and authentic version. A community gives them a sense of belonging and acceptance which can improve teen mental health notably.
- Support and Space
A community offers teens the support and space to identify themselves. It helps teens outline their fields of vision and schools of thought. Teens and their issues are often assumed to be unnecessarily immature and emotional, but being a part of a community allows them to express their feelings freely and in their own time. Knowing that there are people who you can talk to about everything that goes on in your life can be really reassuring for teens and their mental health.
Every person in a community has a role and a purpose. Based on your personality or your skills, members of the community assume responsibility for you in certain roles. Like if you’re a good listener, anyone who just wants to open their heart will single you out and talk to you. That’ll not only help their mental health but will help improve yours too. Contributing to the betterment of other people’s lives gives one an indescribable sense of satisfaction.
- Knowledge & Reach
There are some concepts that are too taboo for parents or teachers to openly discuss with teens. Menstruation, discovering one’s sexuality, sex education, and politics are some such topics that teens get to learn about from their communities far better than from schools. A community educates and makes them aware of notions that are prevalent yet considered inappropriate. It helps teens reach and comprehend these theories so they can form their own opinions.
What factors should you consider before looking for a community?
1. Interests – Introspection as to where your interests really lie can help procure the best community for you. What motivates you, what gets you through the day, and what is the one thing you absolutely love doing are some of the questions you should be asking yourself to be able to know what space would suit you the best.
2. Values – Assimilating what values bring you the most gratification in terms of charities or volunteer work can help you find the right community for you. Helping someone in any way is highly rewarding. Try to dissect what drives you and then find the communities that can help you do it. For example, if you really value equality in education, you can be part of a community that teaches underprivileged children for free.
3. Beliefs – If a political cause or a religious concept seems fascinating to you, or if you have a belief you wish to pursue, you can join communities aligning with those beliefs or causes. Connecting with something bigger than yourselves can really help ease all the overthinking and keep your mental health in check.
Is there a community where you can find unique interests?
Yes, The Emissary. ‘THE EMISSARY’ is a global mass media network exclusively operated by perspicacious teenagers. It’s a platform where teens can connect and learn alongside other teens with similar interests. A sense of connection is an archway to cumulate, grow, and develop everyone and everything along the way. The Emissary seeks to give teens in all regions and dimensions of the world, a sense of teen empowerment by uniting them, combining their skills, and giving them a platform to grow as individuals and break out of the mould to shine on a global network. Teen mental health is one of the most important elements of The Emissary and they’re constantly working towards helping teens with that, by bringing them the solace of camaraderie and fellowship.
All in all, a community accords teens a sense of fulfilment that can put them in a better headspace. No matter how big or small, it is important to be a part of a community. It can help you prioritise your mental health. It can teach you a lot about yourself, your choices, and values. Your community needs you as much as you need it; we all function better in collaboration with each other.