Students promote mental health

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A GROUP of students based at Young People March (YPM) have teamed up with Young Lives (Empowerment) and Fenland MIND to promote the mental health services available in the area.

The festive holidays can be a tough time and although Christmas and New Year now seem like a distant memory, there will still be people out there feeling the effects.

“Christmas is usually seen as a happy time of year, but for many the seasonal expectation is just too much and leaves many people feeling unable to cope,” said Charlie Manders from YPM. “We don’t like the idea of people struggling with this burden alone and so we wanted to remind everybody that support is out there and available free of charge.”

“Depression is an illness. It’s something that one minute isn’t part of your life and then suddenly is,” added fellow student Lauren Goode. “The first reaction is to be scared and not want to talk about it, but we urge people to visit Fenland MIND and do just that.”

The students did a survey at YPM, asking the teenagers to describe what they thought mental health meant to them. They were pleasantly surprised by the results.

Having expected to hear words such as “nutter” and “crack pot”, supportive words and phrases such as “lack of confidence” and “ill” were used instead.

“One in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year,” said Kerry from Fenland MIND. “Within the UK, 850,000 children and young people are known to currently have mental health issues and two young people tragically kill themselves everyday.”

MIND is the leading mental health charity for England and Wales. The charity has been present in Fenland for the last 14 years and since 2006 from their centre in March.

The centre receives referrals throughout the year but finds it difficult to get young people to use the service.

Kerry said: “We are delighted to be working with Young People March to promote Fenland MIND through The Fenland Citizen and by doing so be able to explain how common depression is.”

“We would like everyone to be a little more tolerant of people struggling with mental health,” said Charlie, Sam Stockbridge and Lauren. “If we all pull together and give out some compassion, time and even a few words of comfort instead of ridicule and ignorance, those who need support may feel inclined to reach out and take it. None of us know what life will bring us and one day we could be in the same position and need that help.”