You Matter: Be Your Own Best Friend
Sue Lawson & Sue Hindle
Wild Dog, 2022
64pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
With pandemic restrictions easing and life returning to a “COVID-19 normal” one of the most concerning things emerging from the lockdowns and limitations is the amount of global research focusing on the impact the time has had on children’s mental health. And, with RATs and masks in schools bringing the disease to them directly, the anxiety and discomfort is likely to have even greater consequences. But while that might be the black cloud of the last two years, the silver lining is the focus that has been placed on the mental and emotional health of our young people – no longer is it just an illness of older people.
According to the experts, one of the greatest tools we can provide youngsters with is resilience -“the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity” – and this book, which talks directly to the reader, offers the tools to build this. Beginning with the affirmation that no one else in the world is like you, if offers practical ways to explore emotions and build a toolkit to help with the days when they “feel worried, worn out or just not quite right.” From learning to breathe deeply, tune into their emotions, and creating a place – physical or mental – that is safe and peaceful, the young person is offered ideas that are simple, doable and achievable. They’re explicitly stated rather than being embedded in a what-would/could-you-do story that needs to be unpacked and have step-by-step instructions from learning to finger-breathe to writing anxieties , fears and feelings on paper and physically ripping them up.
Mental health is a curriculum focus, even moreso now, and mindfulness part of everyday activities so as well as helping individuals directly, the suggestions could also be a toolkit for teachers to work through with students whenever there is a moment or a need. Sharing stories such as The World Awaits is an essential part of showing children that their feelings are real, shared and validated and this book is the perfect follow-up, empowering them to not only manage their emotions now but building strategies for the future.