Recorded live at the second Time to change children and young people Roadshow event, Liverpool, 08/02/16
On Monday 8 February, we hosted our second children and young people Roadshow event aimed at the voluntary sector, schools and others working with children and young people. At the event, Shadow Minister for Mental Health Luciana Berger MP spoke about her vision for tackling stigma and discrimination around mental health and a panel of speakers from local services discussed opportunities for joint working and how to set up networks in order to share learning.
We were privileged to have two young champions, Marium and Jolene, with lived experience of mental health problems who kindly agreed to chat to us at the event. Marium also spoke at the event. They have both volunteered for Time to Change for a number of years and shared their stories at events and in schools across the country.
What impact has stigma and discrimination had on you seeking support and on your recovery?
Jolene: Stigma and discrimination made me feel as though I was abnormal, I was a freak and there was something seriously wrong with me when in actual fact each person has mental health alongside physical health.
Marium: It has prevented me from asking for help. The fear of judgement was almost paralysing. The lack of support from my secondary school hindered me from getting the help I deserved.
Why did you get involved in Time to Change?
Marium: I have diagnoses of Bipolar and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I wanted to share my story with other young people.
Jolene: I got involved with Time to Change due to my own lived experience of stigma and discrimination. I was inspired and encouraged by others who spoke out about their mental health so I acknowledged the importance of helping other people speak out, receive help and live a better quality of life.
Why does it matter to you that the youth sector focus on young people’s mental health?
Jolene: Children and young people are easily shaped by those around them and what happens to them. It is important that the adults working with children and young people help shape them so they grow and develop in a positive way.
Marium: It is imperative that the youth sector focuses on young people's mental health as we are the future. If we can work on our mental health, it is setting us up for a better tomorrow.
What advice would you give to teachers in looking out for their pupils?
Marium: Ask if you are concerned about a young person and see how they are feeling.
Jolene: Teachers are majorly involved in young people's lives. They should not be scared of a child seeking help. The fright that a child is experiencing is nothing in comparison. Be receptive, be encouraging and let them know they’ve done the right thing in reaching out for help.