1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem this year. These stories are about the ways that parents can support their child when they are going through a mental health problem. 

To support someone, just listen without judgement

I used to be embarrassed of my anxiety, but now I embrace it. I have suffered from anxiety since I was little, but it only really started to show a few years ago. 

I found myself cancelling plans with friends, family and colleagues. I would accept an invite and then a couple of days before I would cancel and make something up. 

I started calling in sick to work more often because I didn't feel well enough to go in. Not because I had a stomach bug etc, but because my anxiety was really bad. 

Mental health stigma doesn't solve issues, it just makes them worse

So where do I begin?

I've been told since I was 12 that my constant stress, sickness and weakness, and panic attacks were nothing more than attention-seeking behaviour.

I didn't want to make friends, but I didn't want to be alone. I didn't want to leave the house, but I couldn't live with the idea of me being a failure. I didn't want to admit something was wrong, but at some point I had to.

My family didn't believe I was struggling with my mental health

For a long while, I've been having issues with mental health. I remember asking my mum one day years ago if hearing and seeing things was normal and her response still sticks with me. "You're too young and don't know what REAL mental health problems are."

Living with Bipolar

Many people believe having bipolar means simply dealing with alternating very high and very low moods, but there is so much more to it. During a manic phase, the person can experience delusional hallucinations, which can be terrifying. During a depressive phase, the person may become very forgetful or indecisive. It isn’t as simple as “today I’m happy, tomorrow I’m sad”. It can be life-threatening. So please, the next time you crack a “bipolar joke” – bear this in mind.

Pages