Youth Life London-by Cherise Barrett.

Hello and welcome to ‘Youth Life London’ which will now feature here in the The Havering Daily every fortnight. 

I’m Cherise, the 15 year old daughter of Courtney Barrett who is known as ‘The Knife Man’ and is the founder of Binning Knives Saves Lives CIC. I will be reporting on many youth matters including youth crime, mental health, and youth life in London.

I’ve decided to use this platform to talk about issues which are subjects that many people are concerned about. This isn’t only targeted towards youths either, as parents are also a major target audience here, although admittedly I mostly cater towards the youth. 

Now that I’ve introduced myself a little, I’m ready to thrust upon you the reasons why I hate the way London is heading, and give my perspective on what youths need and want in order to live without fear, prejudice and a lack of empowerment.

With everything going on in the world at the moment, I myself feel like my mental health is deteriorating, so I can imagine how bad a lot of youths mental health is, as I am better off than most, but still affected. I often find myself partaking in my favourite random hobbies to distract myself from my ever declining mental state. Like many youths, I have a multitude of mental health problems, fears, and concerns. Unlike many, however, I don’t mind sharing this with others. I love telling others my personal issues as this helps me and helps them. Talking about mental health is a must. Parents should be talking about these issues with their kids, as my parents do with me, instead of burying the problems and pretending they aren’t there. Due to the state of our society at the moment, with knife crime, Covid, and other extremely worrying issues prevalent, there are very few youths who’s mental health is unaffected by some degree or other. 

A lot of youths are itching to tell their stories or discuss the issues which are affecting their everyday lives, but feel that there is no one to listen to them or help them. Well listening and discussing these issues helps a lot, so I urge all parents to have a sit down and a chat with your children about their fears and their mental health, and let them know that they are not alone and that they can come to you and discuss their fears and issues anytime. Until my dad sat me down and talked with me, I felt scared and alone as far as life outside my house goes, but now I know I can always discuss anything with him, and that has made such a difference to my mental well- being. 

It’s like a lot of youths have a storybook which is deteriorating due to gathering dust on the top shelf. I say we take these stories down and read them. You could start with the smallest things because no matter how big, how petty, how tragic, how funny, how disgusting, the discussion between you and your child will spell out to them that ‘we are together and we are here for you’.

Youth mental health is something that often gets overlooked, so I hope all you parents realise that us youths really need you to be there for us more than ever in these troubling times. I hope this article helps some of you to take that dusty book off the top shelf, open it, and help your child’s mental health.

It’s good to talk, so get talking, and help your child overcome the mental health issues that are affecting most of us at the moment. 

By Cherise B  (THD Junior Reporter)

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