International Youth Day is an annual awareness event co-ordinated by the United Nations, designed to draw attention to issues which effect young people.
Each year the theme changes, but at the White Ribbon Association we focus on one key issue which impacts almost all young people throughout the world and can shape the decisions and choices they make growing up – peer pressure.
Pressure is something everyone might experience throughout their life, but for young people they are at a particularly impressionable age where the desire make and keep friends is paramount. This is especially relevant when faced with the opportunity to drink alcohol, try drugs, smoke, or gamble.
There are many different types of pressure which can be experienced; curiosity to try something new, an expectation to fit, or even wanting to appear older or more mature. Knowing how to appropriately respond to these pressures is key.
Choose the right friends
Take a moment to re-evaluate the people you spend your time with. Do they support your decisions and help you make healthy choices? Genuine friends will place your wellbeing as a top priority and respect you if you choose not to do something.
Don’t make it a big deal
If you choose not to drink alcohol or use drugs, for example, don’t make it a big deal. Playing something down and making a joke out of an uncomfortable situation can resolve it quickly.
Make an excuse
If you have tried to resolve an awkward situation you’re faced with but you still feel uneasy, make an excuse to leave. Say you need to be home by a certain time or you don’t feel well.
You always have a choice so sometimes all you need is a little bit of confidence to refuse. Be honest with your friends and tell them the reason you don’t want to do something. You could be the voice for another friend who feels the same way as you, but is afraid to speak up.
Our free Community Health Information displays offer advice on peer pressure and more ways to resist it in order to live a healthy life. Our Development Officers can also deliver health events and sessions, especially beneficial to younger people in schools and colleges who may be experiencing a challenging time transitioning into a new academic year.
This year, we are being supported by libraries and workplaces throughout the West Midlands, but it’s not too late to book your event or free display board. Contact us today to find out more.