Leaving school or college, starting university or work, trying something new and meeting different people can all seem like scary prospects. But remember you're not alone. Preparing for adulthood and making decisions for perhaps the first time in your life is stressful for most of us.
What's really important, is to recognise when we're struggling (or we spot someone who is) and to know that it's okay to not be okay.
As part of our resources for Post-16 Careers Week, we've put together a range of tools to support the transition to your next steps and help you start learning about dealing with change, making choices and asking for help if you need it.
Sometimes it's easier to solve someone else's problems, rather than tackling our own. It may seem simpler to offer support to a friend or peer on their situation, than to break down our own challenges and know where to start in solving them.
That's why we've put together a small number of case study examples which can be used to start discussions about situations that you might have experienced, directly or indirectly. You can use these to think about how you would react in different scenarios, the type of support you might offer and where you would go to get help. It might also help you to understand what others around you may be feeling or experiencing, look out for warning signs and think about how you might help that person when they need it most.
Individually, or in groups, explore the different case studies and scenarios. What advice and guidance would you give this person and why? What action would you take to support them? What are the potential consequences if you do (or don't)?
In a classroom setting, these case studies may be useful to stretch and challenge your understanding of safeguarding, equality and diversity by encouraging you to consider what else might be going on and seeing life from a different perspective. They may also help you to speak up or raise concerns about your own or others mental health and welfare for example.
Knowing about the help and advice that's available to you and developing a strong support network as you take your next steps will be invaluable. Hopefully, you will have trusted advisors on hand in the form of friends, family members, teachers or peer groups that you can talk to about how you feel. If not, remember that there are a wide range of confidential support services available 24/7 - including telephone helplines and anonymous chat rooms. There's always someone on hand to talk to, share their experience and understand what you're going through.
When you start college, sixth form or university, there's usually a Student Transitions Team and a range of Pastoral Support Services on offer to you. These are designed to help you settle in, but also to be on hand if you're finding things difficult and need extra support. When you attend an open day, during your course induction or first week (whether on-site or remote), but sure to find out what services are available and how to contact them. Whilst you may not need them straight away, it's good to know what's there if and when you do.
You may also find it useful to complete our Transitions Tool Kit...
This activity is designed to help you identify and build your own support network and strategies for transitioning from school or college.
Start with the second page! Complete this first and use the prompt questions to think about how you cope with stress, what strategies and support your already have and what you need moving forward. If you prefer, you can use the third, blank page to identify your own points or to adapt the activity to suit a related activity, lesson or set of questions.
Once you've done so, you can complete the first page to summarise your worries and concerns. This may seem easy to complete, but sometimes recognising your own worries, saying them out loud or writing them down can feel hard. You might not have admitted them before, to others or to yourself. But this is a great way to start! You can use this document for your own personal use or you can decide to share it with someone you trust, it's completely up to you. Simply by thinking about possible solutions and where to go for help is an important first step.
Do you know about the support services available for young people? If you're feeling anxious, stressed or low at this time, we can help you find the right support in Stockport - whether you prefer to access support online, over the phone, need practical support, an urgent response or something more specialist.
As part of Post-16 Careers Week, we've also put the spotlight on specific services available to help young people. You can find out more about our Virtual Exhibitors in our Event Prospectus or viewing our Support for Young People here.
For more information on the support services referenced above and Stockport Mental Health & Wellbeing Support, view the latest updates here.