Invest in local mental health services and help schools spot signs of problems

Invest in local mental health services and help schools spot signs of problems

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Alex Wilkie started this petition to Jeremy Quin (Member of Parliament for Horsham) and

We are a group of teenagers who are asking for our local council to provide better mental health support at a time of crisis.

Since the start of this year, at least three teenagers in the small town where we live have taken their own lives. Another teenager passed away at the end of January in a car accident. 

These four young people were our friends. Their deaths are shattering our community and we need support.

We know that teachers don’t receive adequate training to deal with these sorts of events, or spot and act upon any signs of mental ill-health before it is too late.

We know that mental health services are not able to cope with the situation we are in.

We know that our parents are often stressed with their own problems and not equipped to help children in crisis.

Our goal is to use this campaign as a voice for young people suffering with their mental health.

One of us has had personal experience of dealing with mental illness. Last year she was referred to the Horsham Youth Emotional Support Service and was left to wait for six months for an appointment. Once under the service, she felt like they couldn’t wait to sign her off because of the pressures of waiting lists. She got no benefit from the treatment, which lasted a few weeks.

We have also all personally dealt with friends who have very serious depression and, on more than one occasion, we have had to talk to friends who have attempted suicide. In most of these cases, our friends’ schools simply had no idea that this was happening to children in their care. They were left with no-one to turn to except for their friends.

These events pre-date the coronavirus pandemic. These problems in our community are nothing new.

Since lockdown, one of our families has had to accommodate teenage friends who have not been able to get support for mental health issues, and whose families are simply not equipped to deal with them. These children ran away from home and our families took them in to give them space to recover.

One of our parents spoke to a social worker regarding one of these cases, who said that their service simply can’t cope with the sheer weight of numbers of cases of children in crisis.

Often, we feel like we are having to act as therapists for our friends because they don’t know who else to turn to. It chips away at our mental state. We are not qualified. We are children.

People of all ages have been hit hard by the coronavirus, but we have been impacted at a crucial point in our lives. The institutions that are supposed to look after us are failing.

We have so many ways of communicating with each other but we feel powerless. We cannot express our opinions at elections and our voices simply aren’t being heard.

That is why we have started this petition asking our council to support our community with greater access to mental health services and a focus on working with schools to create safety nets for children in crisis.

How many more children from our patch have to die before something is done?

0 have signed. Let’s get to 10,000!
At 10,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!