Project Description

Connecting with others and developing relationships is really important for our mental health. But relationships can be really complicated sometimes and the relationships we develop with different people in our lives often serve different purposes.

Family

Family really can be great sources of support if you feel low, even if you don’t always see eye to eye. You might be surprised to find that they do understand how you are feeling! Think about the people that are around you who can help and remember that thoughts and feelings are important – they’re never too trivial.

Every family is different and therefore every family will have different dynamics and relationships within it. Whether you live with both your parents, just one parent, step parents and step siblings, half siblings, foster parents, your grandparents, aunties, uncles or cousins, you should feel loved and safe. All families will have disagreements at times and when this happens, it is important to have someone outside of your family home to speak to, whether they are friends, wider family members or people at the school or clubs you go to. Most family disagreements will be sorted out within a short space of time but if you are ever concerned about a situation at home that is making you feel upset or stressed, especially if it is more or longer than usual, it is important to speak to someone you can trust.

Friendships 

Friendships are often a big part of our daily lives and can have a great impact on our mental health and wellbeing. 

It is often the case that you will have a number of different friends, who all play a different role in your life. Some friendships are supportive and others are about hanging out, banter and not about sharing how you’re feeling. That’s OK.

Some friends you may be in touch with every day, online or in real life and other friends you may speak to less regularly. This is OK. Friendship is about communicating and connecting with each other when it works well for you both. 

Similarly friends may offer you advice, share your interests, make you laugh or even sometimes make you cry. The important thing is that your friends don’t judge you or make you feel bad about who you are. Friends accept you for who you are as well as challenging you in ways which help you grow.

Friendship is a two-way street and you need to make sure that you support, challenge, help and enjoy spending time with your friends as much as they do for you too. 

If you find that you always feel drained, upset or bad about yourself after you have spent time with particular friends then it may be time to reconsider that friendship. 

You can find more information about friendship and what to do if you think a friend may no longer be someone you want to be friends with by following the links below.

Information and advice for all things to do with friendships.

Information and advice for all things to do with friendships.

Gives advice about supporting friends who may be having mental health difficulties.

Making friends

Knowing where to start with making friends can be really hard and it takes a lot of courage to start conversations which could lead to new friendships. Check out the links below for more advice on making friends.

Advice for making new friends.

Top tips for making new friends.

Relationships 

Being in a relationship can be really exciting. Spending your time getting to know some who makes you happy, has similar interests to you and makes you feel good.

Relationships can also be quiet daunting. Whether it is not knowing how to talk to some you like, facing rejection, feeling pressure to do things your not comfortable with or ready for, there is often a lot to learn about the dating world (and most of the time the people around you will pretend to know more than they actually do!).

As you begin to explore relationships you may also be thinking about who you are attracted to along with other elements of your sexuality or gender. If you have questions about this have a look at our Sexuality and Gender Identity page for more information and advice.

Information and advice about relationships to help you feel more confident.

Relationship advice page where you can ask and help answer questions about relationships.

With all this in mind it is a good idea to make sure you understand what a healthy relationship should look and feel like.

For example, it is quite normal to have ups and downs in relationships. However, if the downs become more frequent, or you feel like you are unsafe within you relationship, possibly feeling like you are being forced to do things you are not comfortable with then it may be time to reconsider the relationship, no matter how good they make you feel in the better times.

Below are some links to find out more information about healthy relationships.

Information and advice about healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Information about different types of abusive relationships you may experience.

A relationship quiz to help you think about if your relationship is healthy or not.

Sex

Alongside relationships you may also begin to think sex. It is normal to have lots of questions about sex and whether you have had sex or not it is important that you understand how to keep yourself safe, sexually healthy and that you understand about consent.

Advice for talking about sex and lots on information on consent.

Information and advice for staying sexually healthy.

Information about the law and consent.

Exploitation

Sometimes people will try to exploit us in our relationships. Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves manipulation of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity. It can cause anxiety and leave young people traumatised. It is important that you talk to someone you trust and seek support.

It’s not all right for someone to:

  • Threaten to end your relationship if you don’t have sex.
  • Ask or make you have sex with other people.
  • Expect sex in return for food or a place to stay.
  • Share drugs or alcohol with you in return for sexual acts.
  • Threaten to stop being friends if you don’t perform sexual dares.
  • Give you gifts or money in return for sexual acts.
  • Ask you to take sexual photos of yourself or share them online or by text.
  • Threaten to humiliate or share sexual images of you if you don’t carry out more sex acts.

– See more at: http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cse-advice-young-for-people#sthash.4LpBrIUw.dpuf

Visit here if you are worried about online sexual abuse.

This app allows you to keep flirty chat on track. If someone’s trying to get you to send nudes, use the Zipit app to keep the situation under control.

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Information and advice about sexting, including a way to share anything you are concerned about anonymously.