Weekly mental health support groups in all schools
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At the age of sixteen I was admitted to the care of camhs (child and adolescent mental health services). I was diagnosed a few months later with an eating disorder which then led to depression and anxiety. I soon found myself isolated and alone finding clarity and peace in alcohol, drugs and self harm, only adding to my problems. I knew that many children in school were struggling but were afraid to speak up as there was nowhere young people could get together and talk about mental health. Being in school and feeling afraid and alone is a dark place to be. I feel that my journey would have been much easier if I could have spoke in a group at school about various experiences. Many young people are not fortunate enough to receive a place at camhs creating isolation and fear. I wasn't referred or acknowledged as having a problem until I took an overdose of paracetamol at school. In 2015 I lost a friend who also attended camhs.She was fifteen at the time of her death, and I remember her speaking about the fact that she wanted to come to school,but that she struggled as she felt that people found it hard to understand. I believe pupils with or without mental health issues would benefit from such groups in schools ,as they could not only better themselves but grasp an understanding, help friends and support one another. They just need a room and a time to meet. These groups would be run by named teachers, school councillors or students themselves depending on the resources each individual school has available.It's easy to label these children as attention seeking, but what's important to remember is that they do want attention. Just like we would expect medical attention when we are physically unwell, they are crying out for help as they too are sick. Imagine yourself in hospital asking doctors for help, but then being told that there's nothing wrong with you and that you've made it all up purely because nobody can see an injury. This is our reality, and it's happening daily. Hundreds of children are dying each year as their voices aren't being heard, a change is needed now.
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