Young People – Mental Health

Mental health is as important as physical Health.

I’ve wanted to post about this topic for a while as it is really close to my heart, the same as my previous posts. I know in the media there has been a lot of talk surrounding Mental Health, especially the lack of support and funding for Young People who are suffering. Depression affects more children and young people today than in the last few decades, Teenagers are more likely to experience it more than young children. Also, self harm is very common among young people, some find it helps manage intense emotional pain if they harm themselves. One in Ten young people have been diagnosed with some type of mental illness. These are just a few facts that surround Young People’s mental health.

I feel this topic ties in with my previous post about the Pressure that is put on us, especially in school. Young People don’t get the correct education surrounding their mental health, I know for years in school I never understood why I would ask myself so many ridiculous questions, why I would always feel sick, why I used to shake and get cold sweats. It wasn’t until I left school and experienced something that no one should ever experience, that I realised that I’ve always suffered with bad anxiety, I mean don’t get me wrong it isn’t as bad as many other people experience but it was bad enough that I couldn’t leave my house for the whole summer because I was afraid to go out, I just sat in my safe haven, my house. I isolated myself from everyone, going to ASDA with my mum was a no go! If I tried to go in there, I would instantly feel smothered, then the panic would take over, you know the term fight or flight? Well I would choose Flight, I would instantly leave the situation no matter the consequences. But no one understood why. So I decided to try and get help, at the time I was sixteen. I made an appointment with my GP surgery, which I had to wait weeks for, it made me feel worse. Anyway, the day came when I had my appointment, as I was called into the consultation room, the doctor asked the usual stuff, and I explained how I was feeling, this led me into hysterical crying. Once I calmed down the Doctor had mentioned a few online websites to help, and also mentioned that she could either offer me medication or I could opt for counselling, she did mention group sessions but as I had shown symptoms of social anxiety she thought that wouldn’t be the right option, which I agreed. I thought about what I wanted to do, I decided to go for the counselling as I feel by talking to a trained professional I would benefit more. The doctor mentioned that she would send a referral letter, but there is about a six week or more waiting list. I understood and I was thankful for her to offer it to me, it was just a waiting game now.

Weeks past since the consultation, and I received a  letter from my GP, the letter basically said that as I was under the age of EIGHTEEN, I would not be able to have counselling as the NHS does not fund it, so if I still wanted to go ahead with it I would need to go private. I was left feeling deflated, I felt there was no hope for me to get help. As a sixteen year old feeling this low and anxious I just shut myself off. I mean I was fortunate to have a job, which I enjoyed at the time, but I realised after that the job I was in was making me even worse. I would have bursts of anxiety, somedays I would feel awful others I would feel fine. It’s something you can’t explain or that people don’t understand unless they have felt that way before.

Now three years later, I have a new job which I love, I have better friendships, people who I trust and people who want to spend time with me without feeling like they have to spend time with me. I finally feel wanted. My anxiety is much better than before, but I cannot say that I have fully recovered, but I’m still battling this inner demon, but it isn’t as crippling as it used to be.

If you’re still here reading, thank you. I’m sorry this is a very long post, but this has been one of the hardest ones to write. I feel that I can’t 100% open up on here yet, but I’m on my way. The moral of this post is that, there isn’t enough funding nor research for young people’s mental health, and it kills me to know that so many people whether young or old and suffering in silence. I just want you to know that if you are suffering, it’s ok to feel like this but please I beg you do not do it alone!! There are people out there who love you, they are willing to listen I promise. Just promise me you’ll take care of yourself.

Helpful links:

If you need urgent help and you are under the age of 18 you can talk to Young Minds, they have a free text msg service, text YM to 85258 and you’ll text will be answered by a trained colleague.