I was 16 when I first started suffering from mental health difficulties and from that point onwards things have been very different. At my lowest points, I felt like there was no one around me who could help. It almost cost me my life. Feeling like I didn’t have support available to me, combined with not necessarily wanting to seek help, was extremely damaging and is something that far too many people go through on a daily basis.
I waited at least two months before I finally admitted I needed help. This was after spending an unhealthy amount of time passing off how I was feeling as a phase. I finally built up the courage to tell my father about what I had been feeling the prior months. It was one of the hardest, but most beneficial things I’ve ever done. From there I started getting professional help and I was diagnosed with moderate depression and anxiety. It wasn’t an easy thing to deal with– all happening during my two most important school years. It was an extremely tough period of my life, but I got through it and I did that by using the support of others around me.
I now use my experience of mental ill-health to share my story in the hope others facing similar challenges will find it comforting and be encouraged to speak out. I feel it is incredibly important for people like me to share their experiences in an effort to help end the stigma surrounding mental health and help others realise they are not alone. At the end of the day, if people like me don’t speak out, who will? My own experience with mental health got to its worst point when I attempted to take my own life in 2o17. Yet, with the help and support of others around me, I came back from that incredibly low point in my life and I’m here to tell the tale.
My life experience has led me to become a part of the Thriving from the Start Network – a mental health community for those early in their careers. I believe this network is incredibly important for young professionals who are exposed to high pressure environments from the very start of their working lives. The Network provides a platform for people, like me, to share stories and ensure that mental health is a priority within the workplace. If someone’s mental health is suffering and their employer isn’t doing anything to help sort that out, then what hope is there? I believe people should be able to see the organisations they work for as one of the first points of contact and support available to them if needed. Especially considering we spend the vast majority of our lives at work. Thriving from the Start allows young people to speak out and help improve the working environments of the organisations they work for.