Teenager creates mental health self-help booklet for young people

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A teenager who is concerned about the long waiting times young people experience before accessing mental health treatment has created a self-help booklet.

Beth Sebbage made the resource, which contains activities young people can take part in to help improve their mental wellbeing, with support from Fixers – the charity which gives young people a voice.

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The 18-year-old, from Hastings, said: “Sometimes professional help isn’t available – you could go and see a doctor and be put on a long waiting list for services.

“So I wanted to provide people with something that they would be able to use in the meantime, to help them feel better.”

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 wordsearch 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.

She said: “I feel like people don’t understand the difference between mental health and mental illness.

“ We all have mental health, the same as physical health, and you can have good mental health.”

Beth, who plans to share the booklet with young people in East Sussex, adds: “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 are things you can do to help yourself.”

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.

The charity 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 or transphobia.

For more information or to make a donation to fund more Fixers projects, visit www.fixers.org.uk.

· There are lots more stories about young people doing great things on the Fixers’ website, Twitter and Facebook pages at www.fixers.org.uk, www.twitter.com/FixersUK and www.facebook.com/FixersUK

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