Youth Mental Health Day 2023 – #BeBrave

What does it mean to be brave?

The theme of this year’s Youth Mental Health Day is #BeBrave. Bravery can be different for different people, and what it means to one probably isn’t the same as what it means to another. It could be brave for one person to go into a shop on their own, or brave for someone else to raise their hand in class and answer a question. Being brave requires some level of confidence in yourself that you can do whatever it is you’re aiming to.

What is confidence?

Confidence is believing in yourself, your abilities, and your ideas. If we feel confident, we realise that there are things we can do, things that we are good at, and we therefore feel good about ourselves. Sometimes, if we fail at a task, or if someone is mean to us, our confidence gets knocked, and we might feel like we aren’t good at anything, or like we can’t do the things we want to. It’s important to realise that this is normal for everyone, and also that no one person can be good at absolutely everything!

How do I #BeBrave? How do I build confidence?

Building up confidence is a slow process and can take a lot of practice, but everyone can do it. Even changes that feel small can make a huge difference in improving your confidence. Some things you can try:

  • Trying new things. Although new things can be intimidating, they also provide learning opportunities that we can grow from. Again, these things can be anything that you find interesting, and they don’t have to be big things. Perhaps if you like art, you could try painting rather than drawing, or if you like running, you could try taking a different route. Even if these things make you nervous at first, with perseverance you will become comfortable and eventually you might even enjoy them!
  • Focus on the positives. Perhaps you could try writing down one thing that went well each day, or one new thing you tried per week. After a few weeks, you could have a very long list of all the things you’ve proven you can do! These things could be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning or handing in some homework you found really difficult. You could also write down any nice things people say about you, even if you disagree at the time.
  • Being kind to yourself! Remember that getting things wrong is normal, and even if you feel you have gotten something wrong, or not done as well as you would have liked, it’s okay. You would still have learned something from this experience. Sometimes this means we know what to do next time (or know what not to do!) Making mistakes is also normal, and it’s okay to forgive yourself for mistakes. Sometimes when thinking about ourselves, our brains instantly try to tell us “You’re going to fail!” or “You are stupid for making that mistake!” If someone you cared about said this about themselves, what would you say to them? Would you agree with those statements, or point out the unfairness in them and tell them that mistakes are normal?

Being Brave in Difficult Situations

Sometimes we have to face difficult situations, and this is an unavoidable part of life. It’s important to try to focus on things that you can control- what can you do to tackle this situation? You can’t control what other people do or say, and you can’t always control the outcome of a situation. It’s very brave to accept what you can and cannot control, and to deal with any situation accordingly. If you are able to change things, what changes can you make? If you aren’t able to change things, what can you do to make the situation easier for yourself to manage? These could be big or small things. But as mentioned above, always try to focus on positives, and be kind to yourself either way. Whatever happens, you will be able to handle the situation in the end, and when you do, make sure to remember how you did! The more we successfully deal with in life, the easier similar things become in future. Whether we decide to try new things, or are forced to try new things when dealing with tough situations, they make things easier going forwards. Every situation makes it easier to #BeBrave in the future!

Written by Lauren Walker, Assistant Psychologist

Lauren Walker


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