In May this year, our small foundation (of just 5 employees at the time), along with the support of the general public from all over the UK, achieved a huge goal: we garnered over 100,000 signatures on our government petition to make mental health education compulsory in all UK schools.
According to YouGov, one in four students is currently living with a mental health problem and nearly half of those students
As a teenager I suffered terribly with anorexia and was sectioned into an adult psychiatric unit to keep me alive. By the time I was 20 years old I was ready to be integrated into society via a rehab unit as I had lost all my social skills.
With an average of one in ten people self-harming, it's important that we're all aware of the facts, the definition, and how we can help others. You may think that self-harm purely means somebody cutting themselves. This is not always the case; self-harm can describe many things people may do to themselves whilst experiencing overwhelming emotions.
I would often seek solace in a bottle of alcohol, use various other methods to steal me from the toxic home environment I found myself in or simply try and end my life.
13 Reasons Why should not be seen as a driving force for mental illness, as it fails to accurately or sensitively depict the link between mental illness and suicide. Although not intentionally, it is somewhat an exploitation of serious issues in young people today and could have a negative impact on vulnerable, impressionable teenagers.
It was a wonderful experience and I loved every minute. My very fair Scottish skin did not take too kindly at all to the glorious sun... My face developed what I felt at the time were the ugliest freckles. They were huge and sporadic. They had no regular path or shape. If they had I may not have been so conscious of them.
I tried to tell a friend for comfort and she told me I was a potential danger to her child so needed to stay away. I was devastated. I did not know what to say and simply withdrew further into my mental anguish, staying away from everyone like a shamed hermit. Silenced again by another person's opinion which I valued dearly at the time.
They say all suicides are preventable by speaking out - reaching out. Having the confidence to open up about what you're going through is clearly the hardest thing for so many people to do as they fear the reactions of the loved ones towards them.
As a 13 years old teenager my family fell apart after a very violent divorce. Our house was repossessed and at times we had no money for food. I would raid the bins for bottles to help feed my younger sisters.
Never underestimate the impact just being there listening to someone can make a huge difference... Sometimes we all need to feel there is someone there to support us in a time of vulnerability without fear of judgement or stigma.
I think this is something that new mums fear especially if they have a previous bout of mental illness. I've spoken to many ladies who have felt this way and some who actually went through postpartum psychosis.
Unbeknown to me at the time my anorexia was trying to regress me back to a time where I was carefree and cared for - not having to face harsh realities of life like my parents' catastrophic divorce or becoming a young lady.
It took many years to become 'normal', whatever that is. Once I had finished therapy, inpatient and outpatient treatments, ending all mediations, I felt I was finally mentally fit and ready to take on the world.
The patients I met along the way also taught me so much about life and how you should never take anything for granted as you don't know what's around the corner. I learned very quickly to never judge a book by its cover within a few weeks of being in an adult psychiatric unit.
Here is what I would recommend for keeping positive mental health and all round wellness. Everyone has their own tips that help them and I am just sharing what I know to have helped me and others I interact with.
Having had a challenging experience during, and after the birth of my first child in April 2015, I have decided to write a blog about my second experience, detailing the highs and potential lows along the way. I'm having another section, (planned) as my son's birth resulted in an emergency section
My bed became my prison, with a constant daily battle to get up and carry on with life. Although I managed to carry on successfully in employment, the struggle was real- I put on a lot of weight, lost a lot of confidence and was not acting like my bubbly self.