“It's so common. So why is it still a taboo topic?”
Our reporter Jaden finds out more about mental health and the support that is available to young people.
Mental Health is a big issue, according to ‘Mind’, the mental health charity, it is expected by 2030 that they will be two million more adults with Mental health. The importance of the issue is clear and that is why there is a need to raises more awareness of Mental Health problems.
"Oof, which should I pick... one ended up with me lying on the floor, crying. Another left me shaking uncontrollably and crying (of course)"
- Amber Kirk-Ford, Blogger and Booktuber
To find out more I asked blogger and vlogger, Amber Kirk- Ford from ‘The Mile Long Bookshelf’, who suffers from Anxiety and Panic Attacks.
Hello Amber, can you tell our readers a bit about your and blog?
My name is Amber, I'm eighteen, and I love reading - so much so that in 2009 I began a blog, The Mile Long Bookshelf, where I aimed to review every book I read. Well, nearly every book I read... as well as book reviews, it also features author interviews, giveaways, and lots of book recommendations and personal posts on things happening in my life. A few years ago I also started a YouTube channel of the same name. Sometimes I get to meet authors and really cool journalists... it's kind of surreal.
You wrote about your Mental Health on your blog, why do you think it's so important to be open about Mental Health?
There is a HUGE stigma around the topic of mental health, and you know what? I know more people with mental health issues than without. It's so common. So why is it still a taboo topic? Why don't mental health services get more funding? It's important to be open about mental health if you can, to share advice, to give encouragement, and to let others know that they are not alone.
What was the worst panic attack you ever had?
Oof, which should I pick... one ended up with me lying on the floor, crying. Another left me shaking uncontrollably and crying (of course) in addition to my chocolate croissant deciding to make a re-appearance. I don't particularly like going into detail about these utterly tragic moments, but it's important that people know this is a thing that happens. To anyone. Mental health does not discriminate.
How do you feel about authors writing about Mental Health?
It is so important for mental health issues to be explored in books, especially books aimed at children and young adults. Can you imagine someone going through some really scary stuff and not having anyone to talk to or not knowing that other people have been through the same thing... and then seeing their situation reflected in a book they're reading? It's invaluable. That said, it is equally important that the author does research and uses beta readers. If a mental health issue is depicted inaccurately, it can be damaging in more ways than one. Some books I've loved on this topic include Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, When We Collided by Emery Lord, Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard.
Finally, can you give a person going through a similar thing tips on how get through it?
Get professional help. It can be hard and daunting, and you might not want to open yourself up to a complete stranger... that's normal! But the sooner you get help, the better. The first step is often the hardest, and once you've done that, you're on the road to recovery. Progress is possible, I promise.
“There is a lot of pressures on young people in today’s society”
- Feray, School Counsellor
To find out about mental health issues at Park View and in the local area I we met with the school Counsellor Feray.
Thank you for meeting with can you tell the readers who you are and what you do?
My name is Feray, I'm one of the school counselors, I original begin Counselling back in 2002.
What do you think people who suffer from mental health need?
Umm.. Young people find it difficult to talk to friends of family about difficult feelings they might have. They can see a counselor, who will not judge them and will be confidential.
If you were to talk to this person what advice would you give?
As counsellors we don't offer advice. We provided a safe place when students can explore the feelings and make their own choices.
Why is talking about mental health issues, so important?
There is a lot of pressures on young people in today’s society, talking about mental health makes a young person feel less isolated and encourages them to get help.
How have the people you counselled helped themselves?
Students that had counselling have learnt more about their self-esteem and how to value themselves. They have learnt techniques to deal with anxiety and stress and how to manage the feelings in times of crisis.
How often do people come to you about mental health, do you think men come often or less than woman?
There are an equal number of students, male and female. Some students attend between six and 12 weeks and some see us for a long term counselling as long as an academic year or two.
“In my culture, mental health is not talked about, it is a taboo topic. It’s is an emotional journey; you have to imagine what's in people’s heads.”
- Ms Ahmed, school nurse
I also met the school nurse, Ms Ahmed. She has experienced dealing with a family member with mental health. Here she talks about mental health and the stigma attached to it.
What is it like working with people who suffer from mental health issues?
It is difficult to understand people with mental health, you need to understand [them]. You have to be patient to with [people] who suffer from mental health. Mental health issues are so important. In my culture, mental health is not talked about, it is a taboo. Itis an emotional journey, you have to imagine what's in people’s heads.
What exactly do you do with people who suffer from mental health issues?
I listen to them and understands what they try to say, I support them. I try to understand what thy try to say and I help the anyway to get medical help?
After meeting all of these people, I feel pure empathy and pain for them. I originally wrote this article for blogger friend (who I interviewed). I wanted to show her I supported and I learnt even more about her and other people. I think people need support even if they are not suffering with mental health, we all need a fairy godmother or father to take care of them, so go forth and become one.