Blog

Support for Young People with a Disabled Sibling

Here in South East Asia, there isn’t always easily accessible support for young people so I was delighted when I came across the Siblings Support Project. Although they are based in the USA and Australia, they have a support group on Facebook called ‘Sibteen Support Project’ which can be accessed by any young person who can speak English from across the world (which will be limiting for some young people I know). The group is for siblings only – sorry parents and professionals you are not allowed in! – which allows them a safe and supportive space to ask questions and talk through things with other young people in the same situation as themselves. So if you or any of the young people you work with, could use a bit of peer support have a look.

You can find out more information about Siblings Support and the other work they do here: https://siblingsupport.org/

What’s The Tea?

Back in January this year I co-founded the snazzily and imaginatively titled “Brunei Non Fiction Book Club with Nisa, who I knew only from #Bookstagram. We hadn’t met in person so I remember sitting in the cafe by myself that first meet up wondering if anyone would actually show up!

The idea was simple – read what you want and come tell us about it. We’ve discussed books with subjects as far ranging as environmental issues, trauma, politics, self help, memoirs and even (my personal favourite) graphic non-fiction. And anyone can join – just bring at least one non-fiction book to talk about!

Next month I will be speaking at this event talking about how people can join our book club, why non-fiction is great and what we’ve been reading. The event is free but you do need to sign up. So if you are interested in what we and other Brunei book clubs have been reading this year check it out. Sign up link here

Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships: Respect Me Workshop

Today I led a workshop for Respect Me on Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships. Below are some resources I talked about:

How Healthy is My Relationship Assessment:

Living Through Crazy Love: Leslie Morgan Steiner Ted Talk

Further Reading and Resources:

Jess Hill (2020) ‘See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control & Domestic Abuse’

The Duluth Model: https://www.theduluthmodel.org/wheels/

Why we need to have a conversation about sexual pleasure and consent

Back in 2013 I was interviewed by Brook at a conference at UCL about the importance of talking about sexual pleasure as part of Relationships and Sex Education.

It seems like we need to have this conversation again in light of the #metoo movement and Everyone’s Invited, both highlighting the wallpaper of sexual violence that (not only) young people face.

The full video is above.

New Training Courses

I am pleased to announced I am now an accredited trainer through Nuco Training UK, and able to deliver the following courses both in person and online.

First Aid for Mental Health

  • FAA Level 1 Award in Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health
  • Award in Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health at SCQF Level 4
  • FAA Level 2 Award in First Aid for Youth Mental Health
  • Award in First Aid for Youth Mental Health at SCQF Level 5
  • FAA Level 2 Award in First Aid for Mental Health
  • Award in First Aid for Mental Health at SCQF Level 5
  • FAA Level 3 Award in Supervising First Aid for Mental Health
  • Award in Leading First Aid for Mental Health at SCQF Level 6

Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults

  • Level 3 Award in Principles of Safeguarding and Protecting Children, Young People or Vulnerable Adults (RQF)
  • Level 1 Award in Awareness of Safeguarding (RQF)

Please get in touch if you would like to arrange a training course for your staff.

The Things I Would Tell You

If you asked I would tell you 1 in 3 of us have been subjected to sexual violence.

I would tell you it doesn’t have to define you.
I would tell you, it wasn’t your fault.
Don’t protest, it was definitely not your fault.

I’d tell you that blaming yourself absolves the perpetrator of responsibility,
I’d tell you it was their decision not yours.

I’d tell you that things can and often do get better.

I’d tell you 40 is better than 20.
Although you bones hurt more.

I’d tell you holding onto shame will eat you alive.
I’d tell you that anger can be positive.
I’d tell you, you don’t have to be nice to people who abuse you.

I’d tell you, you have way more power than think you do.

I’d tell you to stop concentrating on your flaws and see your beauty.

I’d tell you comparison is the thief of joy,
I’d tell you instagram quotes make me roll my eyes

I’d tell you that sometimes I struggle to get out of bed,
I’d tell you this is normal.
I’d tell you no-one can be happy, or motivated or “on it” 100% of the time.

I’d tell you that everyone, ever-y one,Ā thinks it’s only them who struggles.

I’d tell you that work is not everything although you need to pay the bills.

I’d tell you that your teenage children, despite moaning and grumbling, wish you’d talk to them more but your phone gets in the way.

I’d tell you to warn them that jealousy is not romantic,
I’d tell you to warn them the way someone feels does not justify their behaviour,
I’d tell you to warn them that “trust issues” is code for domestic abuse.

I’d tell you that abuse thrives in secrecy.

I’d tell you we shouldn’t carry the shame for the actions of others.

I would tell you am the 1 in 3.

But you didn’t ask.

How much is too much stress?

While a little bit of stress may be good for us to get working well, too much and we’re tipping into anxiety, panic then burnout. Too much stress and we lose motivation, it’s more difficult to concentrate and to remember things.
Sometimes when we’re stressedout we keep jabbing at the thing we’re trying to do. We get frustrated and angry, and we can’t get anything done properly.

At this point you need to

STOP.

Breathe.

Go do something else for a time. Then come back to it. If it’s your life overall that is stressful, try to find some time in your day where you can do something mindful or fun. This helps reduce your stress levels, and allow your brain to start processing properly. When I tell students this they sometimes say

“I don’t have time!!!”

But you do. Because by taking time out here and there and giving your brain some recovery time. You’ll actually be able to think more clearly, work will become easier and you’ll increase your memory and concentration.

For example, did you know that just 1 hour of gardening each week has been shown to reduce anxiety? Just this small amount of time each week can have amazing benefits.

What mindful activities do you do to relieve stress?

Third Culture Kids

A Third Culture Kid or TCK for short is a young person who has lived for a significant amount of time outside of their parents home country. Sometimes called Transnational Kids or Cross Cultural Kids, their personal identity will be different from both that of their parents and the cultures in which they live. They become a hybrid of the two; hence the term “third culture”.

There are approximately 600 million people worldwide who live outside of their birth country for various reasons; some families only live in countries for a set period of time (e.g. diplomatic staff, military families, those who work for some international corporations), others move out of necessity (displacement due to war etc) and others permanently migrate to another country.

The diagram above can help people understand how they are different and similar to both their parents and the wider culture. They can use the structure to figure out what aspects of their identity come from where, and what they also find difficult. For example some young people lose the ability to speak their parents home language so can find it difficult to converse with grandparents.

How about you? Are you a TCK? What have you found to be the difficulties and the strengths you’ve gained from living away from your parents passport country?