Supporting Young People

TeenSPIRE™

TeenSPIRE™ aims to support and inspire young people towards the best and finest version of themselves. Teens need this support because they face significant challenges and demands, quite different to those experienced by previous generations (who often can remember their youth as being at least relatively idyllic).  The current generation of young people have access to information and technology on an unprecedented scale. The nature of the information itself can mean:

  • intense exam pressures to perform and do well  (often while struggling with concentration and memory for many reasons incl worry, or ADHD), 
  • intense tech anxiety should they find themselves without their tablets or smartphones,
  • intense social and health pressure / anxiety where negative peer comments in a non-stop online world can contribute to problems in sleep, anxiety, confidence and self-esteem, and in body image, 
  • relationship pressures which can include demands to engage in sexting, and/or to experiment with drugs, alcohol or other,  and 
  • significant worry about the future academically, socially and occupationally - while knowing that online peer comments or personal setbacks (our digital lives/footprints) may not be deleted or forgotten over time.

Yet by gaining supports and coping strategies early, and ideally before these are really needed, confidence can improve and young people enabled to make better choices for themselves and their futures. This is important when prevention is less costly than treatment; when drugs and alcohol are widely available as alternative coping strategies; and when our health services are in crisis or struggling.


Our early range of psychology interventions include: 

  • supporting young people towards greater emotional maturity via 1-1 CBT or our community “Teen Stress Busters” courses (more info below), 
  • helping them develop communication and assertiveness skills, and
  • psychoeducation and awareness around mental health issues, use of technology, sleep and/or healthy eating. 

To find out more, please talk to us in confidence, or keep checking our website and social media for events and activities.  We would also encourage parents to attend our adult “Stress Busters” course so that they have the same CBT techniques and insights as do their children. This can be important in helping parents manage their stress, while also reinforcing healthy and affirming coping strategies at home and with their children.  

Sexting

As part of keeping young people safe, parents may need to have a discussion about sexting with their teenage children. These need to know that sending explicit photos to peers/others can have serious consequences - the potential for embarrassment, bullying and blackmail; and a criminal record as it is a criminal offence to forward any explicit photos to an individual / or group of individuals under 18 years - including peers. 


At worst, any consequences are absoloutely surmountable;  more info here

Supports: In-house AND External

"Teen Stress Busters"

"Teen Stress Busters" is an informal group CBT course we offer that is aimed at school-goers aged 14-18 years. It takes place over 5-6 weeks, and offers young people insights and techniques to manage/prevent stress (an umbrella word for lots of different mood states incl low mood, panic, and social anxiety). This fun course is educational rather than counselling, so at no point will attendees be asked to talk about how they are feeling in front of others. Instead, all information will be on slides and handouts [more information].

1-1 CBT

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT, is an advanced type of counselling/therapy that we use to help young people manage depression, and/or any of a range of anxiety problems (incl social anxiety, panic, phobias, stress, and worry).  On offer with CBT is:

  • a warm and kind listening ear (without any judgements);  
  • insights to help teens understand why things are as they are, and 
  • new techniques to achieve goals, which can include managing difficult emotions and feeling states. 

NOTE: typically we request parental consent when offering 1-1 CBT support to those under age 18 years. 

Happiness and confidence building

We also offer a range of supports to help young people build their confidence in a range of settings and contexts. These supports include training in mindfulness, and membership of "Young DAKtivists" (like-minded young people committing to daily acts of kindness, which begins with self-care, and can extend to acts of kindness and thoughtfulness within their families and schools.)

External Supports

  • NSPCC for advice on issues to do wtih children / young people incl sexting
  • Childline for telephone support and information that can be accessed directly by children and young people. Call free on 0800 1111
  • CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) for advice about online sexual abuse  / grooming 
  • Home Start for parenting advice, support and friendship, especially with younger children
  • Sure Start  provides support services to parents with children  aged under four years old, living in disadvantaged areas in NI (click here)
  • Parening NI offers free, confidential parenting support and advice on 0808 8010 722
  • Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy to understand information on online safety. 
  • Samaritans offers 24X7 listening support by phoning 116 123 in NI / RoI

FAQ

Suitability in terms of age

Our fun and informal TeenSPIRE™ community courses aim to inspire and support school-going young people aged 14-18 years, from all backgrounds, cultures etc.  Courses can be taken for information and prevention if not support. However, 1-1 supports may be more suitable for any teen in crisis, or depressed.  If unsure, please talk to us in confidence, and any others as needed incl parents. 


For younger children aged 10-14 years, we recommend 1-1 CBT (with at least one parent also attending).