Hollyoaks has won awards for its portrayal of young people and the issues they face today. But sometimes the issues hit home harder when the pressures the characters are under mimic those who might be watching.
The first thing you just have to remember is that there is always somebody there to listen to you. It doesn’t matter what you tell yourself, there is somebody willing and able to sit down with you and just listen to what you have to say without talking back, without forcing advice on you and, most importantly, without leaving you to deal with life yourself.
Keeping any problem you have, big or small, to yourself is undoubtedly the worst thing you can do in terms of your health and sanity. It means that you will have to deal with it on your own and the longer you leave it before telling somebody, the more difficult it will be to let it out. If you have a friend or somebody in your family, ask them for advice or just confide in them.
If that isn’t the case and you feel as though you don’t have anybody close to you who you can talk to about something in particular, it might be easier for you to talk to a stranger. Of course, that doesn’t mean just approaching some random street bloke and demanding he listens to you; he may just think you’re a bit of an oddball.
There are people, groups and organisations out there whose profession it is to help you. They are dedicated to giving time out to allow you to talk to them. They will listen. They won’t judge and won’t interrupt what you have to say with “..that’s interesting, but what happened to me is much worse…”
First things first. If you feel like you might be ready to take your own life, please, please talk to somebody about it first. The Samaritans are there just for that. They deal with people who are desperate for help and act as that one person you can talk to. They won’t persuade you not to take your life “because it is wrong”, they will guide you through your options and give you emotional support through what they know will be a very difficult process of recovery for you. Again, please speak to Jo@Samaritans.org.uk.
Fletch and Sasha are addicts. There’s no two ways about it and there are no grey areas. They rely on drugs to get them through; they want to feel numb and blur the reality of their life. Fletch has started to lose everything. His cousin and best friend is ready to abandon him because he doesn’t understand what Fletch is going through. You’ve seen what Fletch is like now. Are you scared you might be going down the very same road? Or is your friend headed that way? Talk to Frank.
Talk to Frank are a charity founded to help people deal with drug addiction whether they are the addicts themselves, or a friend has lost control of their life to drug addiction.
Amy Barnes and Ste live together in a dodgy area in a small council flat with little money and a baby to look after, juggling school, work and difficult families, you’d be forgiven for thinking they have it hard enough as it is. Ste’s dad is a violent man and knocks his mother about and sadly, it looks like Ste could be going the same way. He’s obsessively jealous and occasionally violent and Amy is feeling the force of a violent boyfriend. Amy isn’t weak and she knows that what Ste does is wrong. So does Ste. But they love each other and that’s the thing that makes such an awful issue even worse.
Don’t let yourself fall into the same cycle. Speak to somebody, get advice and get somebody to help you deal with it together, rather than dealing with it on your own. If you’re a girl, Refuge are there to help you. They deal with women and children in similar situations to you every day and are there to support you though your emotions.
Eating disorders are, sadly, becoming more common in the UK. Every year more and more young people are being diagnosed with an eating disorder. And many more boys are getting them too. Hannah Ashworth is recovering from Anorexia Nervosa, a disorder which causes a person to be so scared of putting on weight and being convinced that they are fat, that he or she starves themselves. Obviously that is dangerous, whether we admit we have an eating disorder or not.
A while ago, Hannah’s friend Melissa showed us that a disorder like this can kill you. If you, or somebody you know has an eating disorder, or even if you think you might have one or might be going in that direction, please get in touch with Beat. You’ll find all sorts of information there and friendly support staff who will be able to help you if and when you need it.
John Paul came out last year and since then, it’s been one long roller coaster of a ride with his realationships; he just can’t bear to have an ordinary one! While that in itself is a relationship issue that many people can relate to, gay, straight or bi, being gay has highlighted just how difficult it can be to grow up not only gay, but questioning your sexuality too. Dealing with being gay and the things that come with it, such as abuse and media stigma, is made a lot easier when you consider the amazing support base that’s out there.
The best support resource online for gay youth is the Gay Youth Corner. Their blog-style site contains support and information for those who are gay, bisexual or dealing with friends who have come out. The site also has reviews of gay cinema and literature, as well as all sorts of other stuff young people can relate to.
Finally, Channel 4 have a pretty decent microsite called 4Health, which is dedicated to giving you all the information you might need about health, including sexuality, stress and eating disorders.
Please remember, if you need help, just have a quick look at the links on this page. You never know, you might just get what you are looking for…
Some more helpful links can be found below.
BBC Relationships Domestic Violence – Great resource base for domestic violence
Women’s Aid – Working to keep women & children safe from violence
Victim Support – For victims of abuse and violence
Gay Youth UK – Forum for gay youth
Being Gay is Okay – Information for gay people and their friends
Youth Guardian Services – Supporting young gay and bi people
Anorexia & Bulimia Care – Support and information on Eating Disorders
NHS Equip – A gateway to quality health information
Papyrus – Prevention of Young Suicide