Children and Young peoples artwork and photography
Young Peoples Stories
“From the age of 10 my mental health started to decline, bullying began and my self confidence went downhill fast. The bullying continued until I went to Secondary School. At 13 I started to self harm, it felt like a release of all my feelings and began to get addictive.
The beginning of 2019 is when I realised I needed help and opened up to some teachers who then contacted the school counsellor and I later got referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). I went for a first assessment and then began treatment with my Mental Health Worker who I met regularly.
In 2020 my mental health worker introduced me to Alison, CAMHS Participation Lead, who had just started within her role. She was thinking about starting a CAMHS youth participation group to raise awareness of mental health. Alison and I began to meet every couple of weeks and worked on getting external funding from See Me, which we were successful in gaining, this went towards the Be Kind Project, where we created a short animation and educational booklet. By getting involved within this project, I was able to learn new skills, it was something to look forward too, I have met like minded people who were also passionate about raising Mental Health Awareness and breaking down the stigma.
Through the Participation group that is now called CAMHS Youth Forum ‘End the Stigma’ I have gained a new peer support network and my confidence has grown. I also got the chance to speak to Kevin Stewart the Minister of Mental Health and Wellbeing MSP, alongside See Me Youth Ambassadors and Beat Youth Ambassadors. I also started CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) on my birthday in November of that year.
In 2021 I left school and started a short course at Dumfries and Galloway College as well as moving in with my Boyfriend. In 2022 my mental health began to decline again. I was in and out of crisis. I was later diagnosed with BPD/EUPD (Borderline Personality Disorder, also known as Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder). I felt so alone even though I had loads of people around me to help. Through time, treatment and support, I was beginning to get better and I applied to college to study Animal Care, something I am really passionate about and I was successful in gaining a place. I also got a cat to help with my mental health!!
In November of 2022 I turned 18 and began to meet with the adult mental health team. I am still involved within the CAMHS Youth Forum. I have been involved in the Website Working Group, where we have shared our ideas and experiences for designing and developing the young people’s section and other parts of the website. We were also nominated for a Dumfries & Galloway Youth Award, where we were Finalist in the Health and Wellbeing category! This was a great night seeing everyone in person and celebrating with other inspiring young people.
It is now 2023, I do have some good and bad days with my health, however I do have good support around me. I volunteer at a local Donkey Sanctuary, which I really love and is really positive for my mental health. I have just recently applied to become a member of the National Suicide Youth Prevention Advisory Group supported by Children in Scotland and the University of Stirling. These organisations also work with the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group to influence policy. It is important that the views of children and young people with lived experiences are considered by decision makers because we have first-hand experience. This gives us the opportunity to shape the support young people receive.”
“Raising mental health awareness is so important to me as I have struggled with mental illness and I would like to be a mental health professional in the future. Mental health doesn’t get talked about enough and when it is talked about some people don’t take it seriously and call others with mental health issues attention seeking.
When we think about mental health, we think about the negatives and the stigmas when in reality everyone has mental health, some people have good mental health and some have poorer mental health, which results in the person needing a bit more support than others…which is totally fine! In today’s society people are scared to reach out for help, or to talk about their feelings as they are scared they are going to get judged. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about having mental health issues because you are definitely ‘NOT ALONE’.
Many people you know could be struggling with the same issues as you and you could have no idea because a smile can hide so much. Remember to always be kind to everyone because you never know what silent battles that they are fighting in their head. Mental Health is just as important as your Physical Health.
A few ways to improve your mental health are listening to music, spending time with family/friends, doing excursive (even if it is a walk) getting fresh air, or colouring in and so much more. If you ever feel like you need help, you can talk to a friend, teacher, a school nurse, a youth worker or doctor, then they might refer you onto services like CAMHS.
It is good to let your emotions out rather than keeping them bottled up. Remember don’t be afraid to reach out and it is good to talk.”
“After struggling with self-harm for many years I was able to break the cycle and I have been self-harm free for a while now. I didn’t tell anyone that I was struggling for so long because I thought my family and friends might be upset with me, I also felt really ashamed.
I didn’t want to make anyone worry, and I was scared they might judge me or react badly- but this was never the case – my family and friends were really supportive once I opened up about it. once I finally told someone that I was struggling everything got so much easier- I realised I had nothing to be ashamed about and talking through my emotions with someone I trusted helped so much.
I wish I had opened up about it a lot sooner. What helped me most was being able to understand why I was self-harming and what emotions I was looking for relief from. Understanding why I was self-harming and what triggered me when I was experiencing intense emotions and urges was so important- it meant that when I was feeling the urge, I could distract myself and let it pass- I found talking to someone about it helped me a lot.
Journaling and expressing these feelings through writing helped me to get them out in a less destructive way- I also found that drawing how I was feeling was also a powerful release. When I would feel the urge to self-harm it was helpful for me to see the blank piece of paper fill with whatever emotion it was I felt I needed relief from. I found these to be really helpful tools. I sometimes still struggle with urges and that’s okay because I have tools in place to help me and people I can to talk to.”
Mental health is an ocean of destruction with an eruption
They didn’t look after me
But I looked after myself
When the waves crash it makes my head bash
My dad was a sore to all my siblings
I made my siblings lives better
But worse for myself
The waves started to shout, surrounding everything it touched
Family members have let me down
But I got stronger than ever
I started to think about what the ocean was dealing with
I asked the waves, I said “talk to me tell me your anger troubled sea
It’s like a stormy day on the rocks”
The waves hissed don’t judge me
My behaviour is caused by your kind
Your kind has let me down about your littering
I am worth nothing to your kind
I started to tell the sea that being angry doesn’t help it only makes things worse
There is a lot of things you can do than being angry or sad
Like doing some breathing exercises
The waves took one big breath, the waves started to relax and felt half of the problems go.
I told him some of the things that happened, I said I had a black cloud that followed me everywhere
But I started to kick off then I got happier telling people about it
Soon the black cloud went away and that is what you should do
Anything bothering you, you must let someone know
The waves said I will, the waves led me back to shore.
I will tell anyone who reads this if you go through mental health there is someone there to talk to. Don’t let your problems slide it will build up on you, everyone in CAMHS and the Care Experienced Health & Wellbeing team are there for you and don’t end your life plan because you can do it though. Take this advice from my poem everything goes better in the end.
“Loneliness is a feeling that come from being or, feeling isolated from others that may cause distress, anxiety, sadness and many other negative feelings. Loneliness can make a person feel alone, even if they are surrounded by a room full of their closest friends. This can be caused by many stigma’s, regarding being open about our mental health and speaking out about the struggles. Unfortunately, many people are still afraid to share what is happening inside of their head as some parts of society may deem it as ‘wrong’ or ‘attention seeking’.
A survey was carried out by the Mental Health Foundation A survey was carried out by the Mental Health Foundation at the start of May 2022 about loneliness, 6000 people in the UK took part in this and the results came back as follows:
- More than one third 35% said they would not admit to being lonely.
- One quarter 25% say they feel ashamed about being lonely.
- Seven in ten adults (70%) have say that they felt lonely some, or, all of the time within the past month.
- One in eight, (12%) have experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings due to loneliness.
Mark Rowland, the Chief Executive of the foundation said: “Loneliness can be toxic and lead to anxiety and depression and is associated with increased thoughts of suicide.”
It has been proven that sport and group activities can help decrease the feelings of loneliness. This is because it provides an interactive social space where you can build bonds and relationships with others. Sport is very good for a person’s mental health as when you exercise chemicals called endorphins are released into your body which cause you to feel happy and less stressed.
Loneliness cant be seen, meaning that you don’t know what someone else is going through. We all come from different backgrounds and things you find ‘normal’ may be a triggering for someone else. This is why it is important to be kind to everyone, the way you would want to be treated. If you are struggling with your mental health, please dont be afraid to speak to someone, trusted adult, your GP or contact Mental Health Services. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!”
“I found the experience incredibly enlightening, and I came out of it not only feeling like I’d helped and been an integral part of the process but also like I’d learned a lot. You never quite know what to expect when it’s an entirely new situation but I learnt so much from one interview to the next. It was wonderful to work with the other panel members who were genuinely interested in my input but also the applicants as they all seemed to have a passion for helping people and to me that is what I was looking for most.
As a person who has experienced crisis and needing emergency care I have had some bad experiences with the workers assigned to me because I felt they lacked compassion and the ability to connect. Me being a part of not only the interview day, but also the planning process (for example helping structure the interview, submitting questions and a scenario) meant that the things I and other young people I’ve spoken to across the board care about and think is important.
I think it’s a huge step forward, not only for the young people who will start to know they are being listened to and heard, but also for the service itself to get some much needed insight into the reality of young peoples’ experiences and needs. We can help bring the humanity into focus, and from my experience as an interviewer I’m happy to see it’s already beginning.”
Bully’s, years of my life wasted. Bully’s tears used the pain caused. Bullies why wont it just stop! Bullies I’m now scared to go out. Bully’s why do they pick on me?
It feels like I’m alone, fear fills my body as I walk to School the thought of getting attacked trembles in my body. Tornadoes in my head sickness is like a normal feeling.
Fright fills my every thought the nights are silent but yet so loud. I dread hearing my phone ring. My parents get annoyed but I cant explain the feeling. You may think bullying someone might just be for a laugh.
But it truly has had an affect on me. For example; I am now not the Ella my friends and family once knew.
By Ella aged 12 years old