“There is always in our childhood a moment when a door opens and the future enters. (Graham Green)”
My name is Maria and I am 43 years old. I have a 15 year old daughter and I am experiencing a very difficult situation. She is very reactive, she has moved far away from us and she does not want to continue with the school, as he thinks that even if he graduates he will end up like me with my husband who works for a piece of bread, as he says. What can I do? “
The economic crisis that erupted in the world economy in 2008-2009 has changed the lives of many people and families, even in developed countries, where millions of people are or run the risk of poverty and exclusion. The crisis is even more painful for the weak members of society, especially the poor, the elderly and children, which has the effect of burdening their physical and mental health. Greece is one of the countries that is experiencing the intensity of the economic crisis very strongly. Unemployment, job insecurity, and austerity measures, such as cuts in health and welfare, are on the rise. All of the above have a significant impact on the mental well-being of individuals (Giotakos, 2010). Specifically, since 2008, suicide rates have increased significantly in European countries (Stuckler et al., 2011), with Greece showing an increase of 36% in the period between 2009-2011 (Economou et al., 2011). / em>
However, another dimension emerges, which is affected by the crisis: the social life of adolescents. Adolescents who experience the consequences of the crisis (eg lack of essential goods for survival), experience strong negative emotions, which are very often transmitted by parents. In fact, this reality is often reinforced by the separation of parents from their children, as they work hard to make ends meet or choose isolation to manage their problems. Thus, the relations between the family members are shaken, a fact that also affects the relations with the peers. After all, the lack of basic goods indicates that the adolescent will not be able to follow the lifestyle of a mediocre adolescent who can do things that require money (eg cinema), which alienates adolescents. between them. It is worth mentioning the oxymoron of this reality, that research indicates that the financial crisis may have brought people closer, and in particular, family members to each other, as now, due to economic factors, members have increased their participation in all types family gatherings (Gudmundsdottir et al., 2016).
In the context of this reality, the teenager is called upon to accomplish them. Researchers have identified the “weapon” of adolescents for managing adversity, which is called “mental resilience” . The term “mental resilience” refers to “a set of situations that is distinguished by repetitive types of positive adjustment in a context of strong adversity and / or dangerous situations” (Masten , 2007). Its importance is so great for the management and treatment of adversity on the part of adolescents who have formulated specific strategies to promote mental resilience. These strategies focus on different aspects of adolescent development, which is why it is important, when organizing intervention programs, to include a combination of them, in order to cover all these aspects of adolescent development, thus increasing the effectiveness of these programs. (Pavlopoulos, Georganti & amp; Bezevegkis, 2010).
In closing, based on the above, a rather difficult reality emerges, which children and adolescents are called to face from a very young age. Despite the adversity, however, an optimistic side is emerging, which is reflected in the promotion of mental resilience, which can significantly contribute to maintaining the balance of mental health of children and adolescents even under these conditions. </ p>
It turns out, then, that a strong “tool” of adolescents is mental resilience. However, given the Greek reality, it seems that mental resilience is not promoted as strongly as it would be good for adolescents. The literature suggests a set of strategies that are integrated into the various programs, however, the practical implementation of these programs does not seem to take place or be so widespread in Greek society. However, it is necessary to organize and implement these programs to promote mental resilience in adolescents, as it is an effective way of crisis management.
By Alexia Stathaki