Urgent action needs to be taken now to teach young adults how to look after their mental health, according to a psychological and emotional resilience coach.
Dr Amali Gunasekera has launched Bright Futures Blueprint, a mental wellbeing course for 16 to 25-year-olds. The holistic programme is designed to address the root causes of anxiety, stress and overwhelm rather than relying on quick-fix coping strategies and life hacks.
NHS figures show one in six school-aged children in the UK have an active mental health issue with long waits for help and support. And research has found that a staggering 74% of mental illnesses are established by the age of 24.
Amali, a former university lecturer, decided to create Bright Futures Blueprint to help young adults understand themselves more and learn how to look after their mental health rather than waiting until crisis point.
She said: “We need a more holistic approach to mental wellbeing in the UK. At the moment, we ignore it until it is a problem.
“I want to help young adults learn to master their minds so they can be more masterful about all the decisions they take. So many people in this age group lose themselves before they even start their true adult life by seeking validation from others and not focusing on their own self care and self love.”
Amali is an award-winning researcher who received the Princess Alexandra Medal for excellence from Lancaster University for her postgraduate research. Her PhD focused on self-development and understanding the mind and inspired her to share her knowledge by becoming a psychological and emotional resilience coach.
She added: “The process of completing my PhD was more valuable for me than the letters I got behind my name. I realised that what I had learnt needed to be out in the world rather than just academic research so I decided to do what I could to share the knowledge.
“Life for young people is so complex now and they are walking into the future without the right information about mental health, relationships and toxic patterns. We shouldn’t be waiting for people to have a mid-life crisis when they are older, we should give them the strategies and tools they need to become emotionally resilient now. Prevention is better than cure.”
Amali has lived all over the world, including in Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Kenya, India and the UK. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, she spent two years in complete isolation to gain a better understanding of the human mind and reach different levels of consciousness.
Bright Futures Blueprint is a six-week self-paced immersive online workshop, which includes self-reflection activities and video and audio guides. To find out more about the programme, visit www.amali-gunasekera.com