Creating a safe space for our youth

Johann Kikillus, director Soteria Ministries, Ocean View

Over the past two years of Covid and lockdowns, I have noted a marked increase in emotional and mental-health problems among our youth. Unfortunately, these problems are usually brought to my attention when the young person has displayed anxiety and depression for a while.

This year the plan is to address such issues before they spiral out of control. My thoughts are creating a space in Fish Hoek that is accessible to the age group from 16 to 21.

Of course, younger teenagers are also welcome should they require assistance. I would very much like to hear from parents and teenagers what their thoughts are on the matter. Questions I wish to ask are:

• What problems are they struggling with?

• Where do they go for assistance with these issues?

• What kind of support do parents need?

• What kind of support do the youth need?

• How does this support look practically with regards to venue, programmes etc?

• Are those requiring support able to afford it? If so, how much can they pay and if they can’t pay, what options do they have?

Ultimately, we want to see our youth engage in healthy ways of dealing with their stress and emotional baggage rather than resort to using drugs and alcohol, self harming and other harmful practises.

I would appreciate any feedback by email to johannn@soteriaministries.org.za. All correspondence will be dealt with discreetly and in confidence.