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How Many Children Must Live a Life Like the One I Have Before We Step in and Provide Good Mental Health Care for Our Young?

A Youth in a Mental Health Crisis

Photography by Kat Jayne, courtesy of 

Anybody that knows me, really knows me, will know of my battle against the demon in my head and the urge to cut, to self harm.

Whenever my mental anguish grows so strong that I feel that I am unable to bear it any more... or I become worn down by that little voice in my head that constantly taunts me, telling me that I am not good enough and reminding me of every mistake or faux pas that I have ever made... that urge grows.

I am a forty two year old woman, I am pretty much in control of my mental health.

 I know the symptoms, know the treatments, know how and where to get help and am receiving that help…

...Then there is the most important thing, and that is that I know how to manage and live with my anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Yet I only know these things because I have lived with these conditions since I was a teen and on this journey of getting to know me and my mental health, there have been long periods of self-medicating with alcohol and illegal drugs that in the long term did more harm than good.

There have been times when I have almost died through overdose (both accidental and intentional), almost lost my children because, psychologically, I wasn’t coping, almost lost my home, and have fallen victim to corrupting and/or controlling influences or partners.

Now at the age of forty-two, with hindsight and with a clear and balanced mind free of substance or delusion, I can see clearly my mistakes and influences of the past and see the influence that my appalling mental health had on each of my choices and have just one question…

How many children must live a life like I have before we step in and provide good mental health care for our young?

If my mental health issues had been treated when they had begun at the age of thirteen I would have not left school without qualifications, I would not have spent the majority of my life as an agoraphobe hiding in my home because I was terrified of situations triggering a flashback or panic attack.

I would not have developed an eating disorder in my twenties or self harmed throughout my whole life until this point; I would not have reached crisis point countless times.

But my main point is that if I had received this treatment when the problem began I may not have cost the NHS thousands in medications, which haven’t helped and repeated therapies that have come too late to be wholly effective because the problem has been going on so long.

With news reports today saying that a quarter of fourteen year old girls self harm, and these are only the ones that they know of as most hide their wounds or scars, when will something be done?

When a child builds up the courage to tell a parent and that parent then turns to health professionals, the child is put onto a waiting list for an appointment that can take months to materialise; that is, if they are not turned away completely due to lack of resources.

Is this government just hoarding up all of their troubles for tomorrow…?

When these children grow up, as I did, they could cost the ever-struggling NHS, the benefits system, the social care system, and conceivably the justice system an inconceivable amount of money simply because they were not taught how to manage and live with their mental health when the problems began.

PLEASE... Don't let them grow up to be as scarred as me, either mentally or physically.

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How Many Children Must Live a Life Like the One I Have Before We Step in and Provide Good Mental Health Care for Our Young?
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