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New work . . . Author and former social worker Joy Sylvia has written a book for young adults and their friends and families about dealing with mental health issues. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

Helping young New Zealanders learn how to deal with anger, anxiety and depression is the aim of a new book by a Timaru author.

Joy Sylvia, who has a background in social work, will release her fourth non-fiction book on December 7.

Dealing with the Crap is targeted at teenagers, young adults and their families and friends.

She was inspired to write it after a client challenged her to write something for those dealing directly with their own issues, instead of just writing for the people supporting them.

“He said ‘it’s all good right writing books for Nana, but what about me?’,” she said.

Ms Sylvia, who now works part-time as a rehabilitation coach for people with brain and spinal injuries, began writing about how to deal with anxiety and depression after working as a social worker at a youth programme in Burnham, just south of Christchurch.

While the programme explained what anxiety and depression and other mental health issues were, there was less information about “what you can do” to help deal with the issues, she said.

Ms Sylvia insisted the book was for all young people and their families, whether they had diagnoses of depression and anxiety or were just dealing with difficult things in life.

“It’s based off the five ways to wellbeing.”

Her previous books include Say No To Bullying, Dealing with Difficult People, and A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which is about managing “tricky teen behaviour”, was the book her client’s grandmother was reading when he challenged Ms Sylvia to write a book for teenagers themselves.

Dealing With the Crap offers first-person stories from teenagers (with identifying details changed), along with diagrams and practical skills to deal with everything from anxiety and depression to difficult relationships.

She hopes it will be a “blessing in disguise” for young people as well as whanau and friends supporting them.

“[It is about] helping people to feel more in control and build resilience.”

Joy Sylvia will host a book launch of Dealing with the Crap on Friday, December 7, at the Isobel Mayman Room, 14 Butler St, from 5-6pm. The evening will include speakers talking about youth mental health.