Hastings teenager creates self-help booklet for young people with mental health problems
Beth Sebbage, 18, wanted to help youngsters who are facing long waiting lists to access mental health support services, so she has written a self-help booklet. Nick Terdre reports.
Hastings teenager Beth Sebbage has created a self-help booklet for young people experiencing long waiting times to access mental health treatment. She made the resource, which contains activities young people can take part in to improve their mental wellbeing, with support from Fixers, a charity which gives young people a voice.
“Sometimes professional help isn’t available – you could go and see a doctor and be put on a long waiting list for services,” says the 18-year-old. “So I wanted to provide people with something that they would be able to use in the meantime, to help them feel better.”
Something to aim for
Activities featured in the resource pack include making a list of goals, with the aim of giving young people “something to aim for and a sense of purpose,” and a word-search featuring important words in friendships.
Beth, who works with teenagers aged between 15 and 17 in her role as an assistant team leader at National Citizenship Service (NCS), hopes the resource will increase young people’s understanding of mental health.
“I feel like people don’t understand the difference between mental health and mental illness,” she says. “We all have mental health, the same as physical health, and you can have good mental health.
“My resource is aimed at teenagers because when you’re that age a lot of problems can start. When you’re at school you have so many different things going on at once and the pressure of exams – I had friends at school who struggled with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
“Teenagers are told if they don’t get certain grades it will affect college and university and their CV and it can be a really stressful time.
“You don’t always need to rely on professionals to help you with everything you’re dealing with – if there’s a long waiting list or you can’t see someone straight away, there’s things you can do to help yourself.”
Helping young people campaign
Fixers works with young people aged 16-25 across the UK by providing them with resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about. It has helped more than 19,000 youngsters across the UK to have a voice in their community on issues such as cyber-bullying, self-harm, suicide and transphobia.
“Fixers started in 2008 as just an idea… an idea given a voice by some 19,000 young people over the past five years,” says chief executive Margo Horsley.
“They have reached thousands of people with their work, on a national stage as well as in and around where they live. They choose the full array of social and health issues facing society today and set about making their mark. Fixers are always courageous and their ideas can be challenging and life-changing, not just for themselves.”
In 2013, with the aid of a £7.2 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund, Fixers extended its work into Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
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