What it's like to reach out for mental health support
What does asking for help with your mental health look like? And what happens next? Laura, 20, describes her experience.
I first started struggling with my mental health while I was in sixth form. The problems that I was having seemed to creep up on me all of a sudden, and I was left in a state of fear. I wasn't sure how to handle my emotions.
For me, the first step to recovery was admitting that I needed help. I told my family how I was feeling (even though I didn't really have the words to describe it myself) and they helped me get in contact with my GP. Simply talking about my problems out loud to people that supported me was freeing. I felt that I was making progress. Going to the doctor's to discuss how I'd been feeling was a scary thought, but I knew that only positives could come from it.
I remember the day I went like it was yesterday - I decided to go alone as I felt this would be best for me, but I cried and cried the whole journey there. While I was sitting in the waiting room, I began to feel numb and I couldn't really think about anything. When I saw the doctor, everything I'd been continuously worrying about and what felt like every single thought process I'd had over the past few weeks just spilled out of me. The doctor was very understanding and, again, it was a relief talking to somebody about my state of mind.
The doctor told me about various websites I could use to help change some of my thought patterns. They also provided me with information about mental health charities like YoungMinds that I could look to for support. I immediately began using the resources they had given me and, over time, I noticed a change within myself. I am so thankful that I had access to these online resources, as they helped me realise I was not alone.
I am feeling a lot better now. Don't get me wrong, not every day is perfect, but I now feel more equipped to manage my mental health. My process of getting support was fairly simple and I did see positive results. However, I know this isn't necessarily the case for everyone, so I feel that there are certain improvements that could be made to how young people receive mental health support.
Personally, I didn't feel that my school offered a lot of assistance regarding mental health, which worsened my state of mind as I began to feel alone and like there was no way out. I think it would help for schools to educate young people more about mental health. If young people are educated on the different types of mental health problems, they will learn how common they are and may be more likely to seek help.
If you're reading this and you feel nervous about admitting that there is something wrong, please know that reaching out for help is the first stage of your recovery process - you are so brave, and things can only get better.
Author: Laura, 20