November 18, 2021
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By Arlene Connelly-Drummond

Youth In Search Of A Safe Space

The words used by adults to describe our youth are often riddled with negativity – “Irresponsible, immature, selfish, ignorant, inconsiderate, lazy, disrespectful, difficult…” These words shatter youth’s trust in the adults around them. But they have so much they need to share. Youth need a safe space to unpack.

Over the years, I’ve heard young people say that home, school, and the community are not safe spaces. As adults, we get upset when youth turn to their peers for guidance. But are we available?

The harsh reality for many young people is that there is no safe place to go. So, they bury themselves in distractions, suppressing their feelings. Anger and resentment builds. As adults, we are responsible for building a safe space for our youth. But what does a safe space look like? A safe space creates the opportunity for honest communication. It ensures that youth feel loved and valued. It is a place where they can be vulnerable and grow.

Our youth do not desire to sit in the silence of their pains. They need to be heard. I challenge all of us to cultivate a safe space for our youth. No more hidden voices – lean in and listen.

Changing The Unbalanced Perspectives – What Do We Know About Our Youth?

Youth, the period of adolescence covering the ages 10-19 years, is a unique and formative time that calls for adults to cultivate an environment that supports their accelerated growth and development. Various physical, emotional, and social changes, including exposure to violence, poverty, abuse, and more, can make adolescents vulnerable and impact their mental well-being. According to The World Health Organization (as of September 20, 2020):

• One in six people are aged 10-19 years. • Mental health conditions account for 16% of the global burden of disease and injury in people aged 10-19 years.

• Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated.

• Globally, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.

• Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.

• The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.

Protecting adolescents from adverse experiences, while equipping and promoting psychological well-being, can reduce the risk factors that may negatively impact their adolescence and assist them in navigating their way into adulthood (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescentmental-health).

As adults, we are responsible for building a safe space for our youth. But what does a safe space look like? A safe space creates the opportunity for honest communication. It ensures that youth feel loved and valued. It is a place where they can be vulnerable and grow.

Our youth do not desire to sit in the silence of their pains. They need to be heard. I challenge all of us to cultivate a safe space for our youth. No more hidden voices – lean in and listen.

Arlene L. Connelly- the Founder and CEO of ISEE GROUP, LLC a Human Development Company whose mission is: “Restoring the Vision for Vibrant Relationships, Thriving Families & Stronger Communities.”  She is a Life Enrichment Strategist and Servant Leader; who has dedicated over 30 years in Human Services providing executive leadership, management, supervisory and administrative experiences in non-profit and higher education; serving adults, at-risk youth and underserved populations.

She is the author of the compelling book: “Let Your Daddy Lift You Up- Healing Daddy Issues to Build Healthy Relationships” is a testimony of how She has risen amid trauma, adversity and challenge; to transform Pain into Triumph and Adversity into Opportunity. 

To learn more about Arlene L. Connelly, visit – ALCSpeaks.com

For more information about ISEE Group, LLC please visit our website - www.iseegroupllc.com or email aconnelly@iseegroupllc.com

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No More Hidden Voices – Come & Talk to Me

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