1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem each year. For young people who have a mental health problem, their their experience at school can have a big impact. Because young people may be talking or thinking about mental health for the first time, the way their classmates and teachers approach the issue is really important. These blogs explore what it's like to have a mental health problem as a young person, and how teachers and classmates can make a difference. 

At school, I never wanted anyone to know about my anxiety

For me, anxiety comes with shame. In school, I wanted nothing more than for my struggle with anxiety to go unnoticed by my peers and teachers. You could not have paid me a million pounds to admit it to anyone; all I wanted was to seem just like everyone else. Even now, it makes my cheeks go pink when I am reminded that I, so used to identifying as smart, capable and “normal”, have a disability.

Talking about my self-harm helped me feel less ashamed

It is estimated that 4 in 100 people in the UK struggle with self-harm. It is one of the most common coping mechanisms for those suffering mental illnesses, yet it is still a taboo subject.

Self-harm is when someone intentionally harms or injures themselves. It is often a way of coping with overwhelming thoughts and feelings, and is very misunderstood.

I put my mental health problems down to teenage worries

At school, while I had a few friends, I often struggled to connect with people. This was mainly down to my parents disapproving of my friends, which led to me isolating myself. I started to sink into deep depression. I didn’t understand how I felt at the time and I did not feel able to talk about my battles with depression and anxiety, so I put my problems down to general school worries and teenage hormones.

My recovery is tied to the support of friends, family and teachers

When I was 14 years old, I was suspended two weeks before the official start of the Christmas holidays. I’d been self-harming for months at my boarding school, while firmly believing that I’d been exceptionally secretive.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by a group of people who pulled away every lie and excuse until I had no choice left but to accept help. At the time, I hated them all. Despite the hours that these people had spent trying to understand and support me, I felt deeply betrayed.

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