Healthy relationships for young people
Relationships, of all types, are important for young people’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Childline’s pages on friends, relationships and sex provide helpful information and advice on topics like; friendships, peer pressure, being assertive, starting intimate relationships, breaking up and a section on what to do if…
But, it’s not always easy to know when a relationships is healthy or unhealthy. The American website Love is Respect has a range of helpful tips and practical ideas for recognising, and building, healthy relationships.
Relationships should be; fun, enjoyable, equal, supportive, free from pressure or violence and safe. Brook, a national wellbeing and sexual health charity, have an excellent relationships section on their website based on findings from a two year Open University research study called Enduring Love. If you want help separating fact from fiction, they have a helpful section on common relationship myths.
However, sometimes people don’t enjoy, or feel safe in, their relationships. They feel under pressure to do things they don’t want to do or make decisions they don’t want to make. These relationships can be unhealthy. The government’s Disrespect Nobody campaign offers a range of advice, information & signposting to organisations that provide support.
If you are in a relationship that is making you feel unhappy or unsafe it can be hard to know what to do or how to do it. Brook have a sections on their relationship pages that deal with; breaking up and getting help if you are experiencing, or have experienced, an abusive relationship. Childline also offer a broad range of advice on what to do if you’re worried about your own or someone else’s relationship. They also offer some helpful tips on handling relationship break-up.
Video – consent
This video from Thames Valley Police discusses the issue of consent
If a relationship isn’t safe or healthy, staying in it could mean there is a higher risk of experiencing some form of emotional, physical, psychological or sexual abuse or violence.
A variety of help and support is available from organisations like; Brook, Childline, Survive, Unity Sexual Health & Off the Record. You will be believed and taken seriously. Although these organisations offer confidential services, they may need to share your information with others in order to keep you safe. If they need to do this they will always explain what they will do before they do it. You can also speak to your; school health nurse, learning mentor, youth worker, teacher or social worker.
If you, or someone you know, are being threatened or are in danger, ring 999 and ask for the police. Or you can phone the Access and Response Team on 01454 866000 or 01454 615165 (evenings / weekends). These are the people who will help to keep you safe.
SARSAS (Somerset & Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support) is a Bristol based service that also supports young people in South Gloucestershire. This organisation is very experienced at working with young people and will provide support.
- Women & Girls 0808 801 0456
- Men & Boys 0808 801 0464
The Bridge is another Bristol-based service that also support young people in South Gloucestershire. For help after rape and sexual assault or for free and confidential advice 24/7 Call 0117 342 6999
Unity Sexual Health is a free confidential service for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Schools employ a range of people to look after your wellbeing. Some of the titles of these staff may vary in your school but you will be able to find out about them from a teacher.
Most schools have a nurse who either have a drop-in clinic or appointments you can make to see them. They can provide information about mental health and emotional wellbeing, and can help you access further support if this is needed. http://cchp.nhs.uk/cchp/explore-cchp/school-health-nursing
Off the Record: free and confidential one-to-one and group mental health support for 11-18 year olds, in schools and community settings. Young people can sign up online or find out more via the HUBS – www.otrbristol.org.uk, call 0808 808 9120 between 2 and 5pm, text 07896880011.
GP – you can make an appointment to visit your doctor or a nurse at the surgery to talk about any worries or concerns you have. Call your GP surgery to speak to the receptionist or go there in person. The receptionist will probably ask you who the appointment is for and why; this is to make sure that you see the right person at the right time. You don’t have to tell them why – you can just say it’s for something personal if you like.
If you think you’ll might have difficulty discussing your mental health with your GP, you can find advice about how to prepare How to Talk to Your GP About Mental Health
NHS Live Well – pages give advice on variety of sex related subjects including – are you ready for sex? knowing the risks, questions and answers about boys and girls bodies, it’s ok to say no, sex myths, sexting, and lots more.
ChildLine – free helpline for children and young people to talk about any problem 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk
Samaritans – if something is troubling you call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mix: telephone and email support for under 25’s. Freephone 0808 808 4994 (1pm-11pm) Text 80849 www.themix.org.uk.
Get self-help – free online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) resources, www.getselfhelp.co.uk.
Reading Well; Shelf Help – a list of recommended books to help young people deal with a range of issues, available in all libraries.