Emily's Story - Mental Health Awareness Week

Addaction's Mind and Body practitioners supports young people to develop their self-esteem and find better coping mechanisms than self-harm. Following a successful pilot in Canterbury, the programme is now being expanded across Kent and also rolled out in Cornwall and Lancashire. Emily was one of the participants in the initial Mind and Body pilot. Here she shares her experience in her own words.
Photograph of three young people sat around a kitchen table, deep in conversation.

“Before I joined the Addaction service, I was a lost teenager who felt I didn’t have much control over my life and emotions. As a result of this I was self-harming. I felt as though it was my only way of getting some kind of relief. It was if I became dependent on it. I was convinced that I was coping but now I see that was not the case. 

"My school found out about me self-harming and they gave me the choice to tell my mum or they would have to. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. However, afterwards I was glad it was out and I didn’t have to hold this secret anymore. 

"Shortly afterwards my head of year asked me if I would like to take part in the Mind and Body Programme. At first I was a bit sceptical as I had had school counselling before and it did not help. But what did I have to lose? So I said I would take part and I’m so glad I did. Both the one-to-one and group sessions were very discrete and I felt as though I could easily open up due to a comfortable and non-judgemental environment. Furthermore, in my one-to-ones it was nice to talk to someone who wasn’t afraid to talk about self-harm, something I hadn’t previously experienced. 

"I was pleasantly surprised with how far I had come from the beginning to the end of the programme. Not only had I stopped self-harming but my wellbeing had also improved. I was a much happier person knowing that there were people there for me. I can honestly say I loved every minute of the Mind and Body programme. 

"I am so glad that Addaction reached out to me otherwise I do not believe I would have found help myself. Everyone who I have been involved with on the service has been so caring and supportive. I really recommend this service to anyone in a similar position to me. ”

Emily's story shows why we are so excited about rolling out this programme further so that more young people can access this specialised support. We need to make sure that a vulnerable individual's first experience of mental health support arrives before they reach crisis point, and we are confident that Mind and Body can play a significant part in achieving this.