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Health

People Are Sharing Messages to Their 5-Year-Old Selves for Mental Health and It's Just the Best

Why Global Citizens Should Care
In the UK the number of young people experiencing a mental health issue has been increasing over the past 15 years. Different pressures impact young people's everyday wellbeing while services for mental health are chronically under-funded. Campaigns like this are a great way of reminding people that they're not alone. The UN's Global Goal 3 calls for good health and wellbeing to be made a priority, you can help by taking action here.

From ignoring bullies to staying true to yourself, social media has been buzzing with supportive messages that people are writing to their younger selves.

The #FiveYearOldSelfie was started on Aug. 8 by leading youth mental health charity Young Minds. The campaign encourages people to post a picture of themselves aged five on Instagram or Twitter and write three pieces of advice or words of wisdom they would tell that child now if they could. 

The outcome has been a great blend of reassuring positive messages, reminding us all to be kind to ourselves and reflect on how far we’ve come.

For younger people who might be struggling, the messages show that it’s important to celebrate all the things that make you unique and that people who say unkind things to others are often just insecure themselves. 

Not everyone's school days were the happiest but the messages show that challenges can be overcome. A common theme is people telling their childhood self not to worry about their shyness, for example, or encouraging them to “stay weird and follow your dreams”.  

Another theme is overcoming loneliness and seeing things that some see as weaknesses are actually strengths. 

Some famous names have got involved too, like Channel 4's accomplished presenter Cathy Newman — indicating that everyone has insecurities about themselves at one time or another.  

Young Minds has also shared a video explaining the purpose of the campaign.

They say that when you're feeling low thinking about the words of encouragement you would say to your younger self can make you feel better — as a way of being kind to yourself.

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"Try to picture yourself aged five, and tell yourself everything that child needs to hear," the organisation says. Things like "you are so much more than your grades" and "you are funny and cute."  

What advice would you give your 5-year-old self? What positive things would you want to say? And, in the spirit of Young Minds, don't forget to be just as kind to your current self too.