Hi. My name is Johnathan and I am 15 years old.
Since it is Children’s Mental Health Week, I wanted to tell you about my story and what helped me because I don’t think any person should go through those few months.
To fully tell this story, we need to go back one and a half years to around the time of the first lockdown. I truly started experiencing mental health issues in the summer of 2020. I became more distant, less interactive and left my room very little. I spent every day just watching YouTube and didn’t go to bed until around 1 in the morning. I know that this was unhealthy but didn’t want to stop and I didn’t know how. I think the reason that I did it was that me and my parents kept on having big fights and I didn’t feel like I was making them proud. I naturally didn’t do anything to avoid arguments.
What made it worse is that my friends didn’t respond to any of my calls or texts which added to my sense hopelessness and loneliness. The only open interaction that I had was playing video games with my sister and a few of her friends. It also angered me that my sister was having lots to do.
Finally I cracked during the middle of a school day. I asked to go upstairs and I sat down with the head of my department. She felt like a second mum to me because I could tell her anything and she doesn’t judge me but will give me good advice. I told her everything. All of my problems, my routines, the fact that I don’t do anything productive and most importantly, just how alone and depressed I felt. To give some perspective, I was considering committing suicide at that point because I really didn’t think that my life was even worth living anymore. So no joke, that conversation saved my life.
After that, I started changing and I’m going to tell you what helped me.
Just talk to anyone you know. Bottling it up makes it worse because it gives the false feeling that no one cares and no one’s interested in what you have to say.
Secondly, do something, anything except social media.
Social media is only showing the best side of people and will make you more negatively self-conscious. Doing something as simple as going outside, watching a movie with your family or friends or just generally giving yourself and your brain something to do. This gives you the satisfaction of achieving something and knowing that it’s improving ‘you’.
Most importantly of all, keep yourself healthy both physically and mentally.
If you are not taking care of yourself physically which is a baseline, it makes you feel tired and even more miserable.
I hope this advice can help others that have felt the same way. I’m repeating what I said the beginning and that is to never think you are in the dark. My belief is that God will never lock doors without opening others. Find what you’re interested in and stick with it because although nothing comes without a price, the more you put your mind to it, the bigger the reward.
By Johnathan, age 15
If you feel you need support with any of the issues highlighted or are struggling with your own mental health, there are lots of organisations who can help.
Young Minds: www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/find-help
You will find more information on supporting your wellbeing and organisations who can help on the Student Portal:
10 to 13s: victastudents.org.uk/10-13-wellbeing
14 to 17s: victastudents.org.uk/14-17-self-wellbeing
18 to 29s: victastudents.org.uk/18-plus-wellbeing
If you would like to share your voice on the VICTA Student Portal, get in touch at email@example.com