Teaching children how to nurture and grow their emotional strength is key to reducing rates of depression and suicide in teenagers and young adults.
Did you know that approximately one in seven young people in New Zealand will experience a major depressive disorder before the age of 24 and depression is the most common risk factor for suicidal behaviour. In fact it’s estimated that depression increases the risk of suicide by 20 times.
Every year approximately 500 people in New Zealand take their own lives and many more attempt suicide with 15–24 year olds representing the largest group of that statistic.
There's no one factor that reduces the risk of suicide but strong emotional intelligence is key to preventing and recovering from depression.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, control and express your emotions and as an emotional freedom technique practitioner I work with people helping them to develop their own emotional strength so they feel more calm and able to cope.
EFT is a self help tool and like meditation it changes our brain making us more open and receptive to hearing our own wisdom and the wisdom of others. We can be more creative about our problems and are more likely to deal with life's ups and downs in a thoughtful or measured way.
Meditation and EFT have clinically proven psychological benefits and they are definitely not a 'new age' fad. Clinical trials at universities such as Harvard in the United States and Bond University in Brisbane Australia have established links between 'tapping' and the reduction in feelings of anxiety and stress.
It's vital that everyone – individuals, families, communities, employers, the media and government agencies – work together to promote protective factors and reduce risk factors known to influence suicide.
But it's also key that we equip our young people with the tools that allow them to be more resilient, more accepting of difficulties and to have confidence and faith in their own ability and strength to work things out and pull through.
You don't need to be a super hero to live an emotionally strong life. You just need the right tools and the confidence to use them.