you’re responsible for your ownbehaviour. A lot happens (see sidebar).
“It is completely natural to feeloverwhelmed,” says Debbie Bruckner,senior director of Student Wellness at theUniversity of Calgary. “It’s a challengingtransition.” After all, there are a lot of“firsts” as you move from junior highto senior high and on to post-secondaryeducation. Maybe you break up withyour high school sweetheart and begina new relationship, or move out ofthe house—where there’s food in thefridge—to fend for yourself if you go toschool on the other side of the country.
How you move through your to-do list for adulthood depends less onyour age and more on your individualcharacteristics and social situation.
“There is no ‘one size fits all,’ ” Bruckner
says. “It depends on the complexities
and stories of the youth in question.”
But everyone’s mental health always
benefits from connections to and support
from their community. That includes
your friends and peers as well as people
in your family, at school and in your
faith or cultural groups.
“Community support is critical,”
Bruckner says. “Encouraging youth
to develop supports and resources
It’s also important to take care of your
body by getting enough sleep, eating
well and getting plenty of exercise to
keep your body strong and your stress
at bay. Feeling good about your body,
having a positive body image, is an
important part of health and well-being.
Research is showing that getting up andgoing for a brisk walk or other activitythat gets your heart going helps managethe stress you may be feeling over school,work or personal issues.
Your brain is growing up, too.
Scientists are discovering that our brainsaren’t fully developed until we’re inour mid-20s. The teenage brain startsremoving some of the brain cells andconnections it needed in childhood inorder to run more efficiently and tomake room for new connections. Andthe brain’s reward and pleasure systemstarts to see more activity promptingyou to seek pleasure. Some pleasureablepursuits can be risky such as drinking,doing drugs and casual sex.
The part of the brain that takes careof controlling impulses and makingreasoned decisions develops moregradually. That can mean you’re morewilling to do things that adults wouldfind hard, to such as travelling acrossa desert or moving away from familyand friends.
It’s an exciting time and it's a lotto think and talk about. “Talk to eachother,” Bruckner says. Seek support.”|a
MOVING TOWARDS ARECOVERY-ORIENTEDSYSTEM OF CARE:
A Resource forService Providersand Decision Makers
Download at www.ccsa.ca
Feeling good about
your body is an
important part of
health and well-being
GROWING UP IS COMPLEX
Adolescence is a time of big
changes and includes:
• Maturing physically and
sexually as they grow
• Moving from childhood
concrete thinking to more
abstract reasoning such as
learning to accept and value
others’ points of view
• Developing the skills to have
adult relationships and roles
including dating and intimacy
• Forming your own identity,
body and self-image
• Taking steps towards social
and economic independence.