I was going to put all of this in one blog, but the Happy Monday blog took on a life off its own somewhat, hence, two blogs!
One of the articles I refer to in the previous blog is about a CAMHS consultant who has left her role as she struggled to work within what she describes as a broken system. A link to the article is below and it is an interesting read:
This got me thinking about how we treat young people around their mental health and for the first time in a while I had poetical thoughts swim around my brain. Most specifically I remembered a W.B.Yeats poem, Sweet Dancer, which I have happily pasted below:
The girl goes dancing there
On the leaf-sown, new-mown, smooth
Grass plot of the garden;
Escaped from bitter youth,
Escaped out of her crowd,
Or out of her black cloud.
Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer!
If strange men come from the house
To lead her away, do not say
That she is happy being crazy;
Lead them gently astray;
Let her finish her dance,
Let her finish her dance.
Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer!
Some poetry takes a bit of deciphering and even then can be a bit vague or ambiguous, this one I think is quite clear and quite beautiful in its meaning.
A child dances! That child’s is happy dancing, feeling freer, her mood lifts and loses the stress of expectation and pressure from others and the world.
Then, because she is happy, maybe even ‘away with the fairies’, men come along with the job of bringing her back to cold hard, depressing reality and think the child is barking mad because she dances and plays when she should be focussed on work and life.
I ask, who is the mad person here? The child dancing and existing in a light, happy playful world, or the men who want the child to be as miserable as they are and think she is mad for thinking she has a right to play and dance.
I know which seems more mentally unhealthy to me, and it isn’t the child!!
So why do we as a society put our children under so much unnecessary stress, leading to massive amounts of anxiety and unhappiness which as a society is rapidly becoming as prevalent and serious an issue as Covid ever was?
When did the focus of childhood shift from play, exploration, growth, understanding and happiness, to exams, exams, stress, social media, stress, exams and being bracketed and labelled?
Children in a modern society such as ours should not be struggling with their mental health in the way that they do and it should be a matter for national shame that some many of them are so unhappy they are actively seeking support for their mental health. Unfortunately in large part they struggle because it is entitled idiots such as Jacob Rees Mogg and other out of touch, millionaire politicians that make the decisions that impact them most, rather than experienced teachers, educators, psychologists, therapists who actually work with and understand children.
Until people who actual understand the issues that all children face in this modern and often overwhelming world start to make or even be a part of the decisions that impact on our young people most (school, social media, familial problems/finance, bullying, neglect, abuse, pandemic response etc), then it is the children who will continue to suffer the most.
I wouldn’t trust some politicians to cross the road unaided, let alone pass laws that impact directly on the happiness and health of children. Some of these politicians are so detached from the reality of what childhood in modern Britain looks like they are making the same mistakes that always seem to be made when it comes to young people, primarily that that they believe they automatically know what is best for young people, without even bothering to ask them what they think or feel they need.
If they took the time to actually reach out this generation of young people and ask them what they believe would make their lives easier, they would likely have an amazing mandate for the next election. I guarantee that they wont be asking for more exams and pointless stress, for social media to have more power and control over their phones and their lives, or for populist idiots trying to make money for their mates by trashing climate change policies. Kids have enough to go through in childhood and adolescence without adults making things more difficult for them. I really believe they should be given more of a voice and allowed to make some decisions around things that impact on them directly. I believe us grown ups would learn a lot from them if we did.