Mental Health. As we all know, people have begun to shed some light on their mental wellbeing. It is important to focus on yourself inside out. So, what should you do if you are struggling?

I interviewed the Pastoral Co-ordinator at Ribblesdale High School for her opinions on this crucial aspect of life. Miss Hammond helps identify those who are struggling and recognises that a lot of people wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to anybody. However, quite a few people do feel comfortable enough opening up. Her main advice for those who struggle opening up is: ‘always try and share the problem no matter how hard it is at the beginning.’ She explains how the longer you hold on to whatever feeling you are experiencing, the more damage is done - even if you are trying to make sense of this emotion. No matter the difficult situation, the first step is talking to someone about it. Don’t stay quiet. I know what you are thinking; I can not begin to open up to someone. It is too challenging. Well, there are other methods to communicate. Miss Hammond describes her friend’s approach that may be helpful for some: ‘leave a note for someone, even when you can’t speak.’ Sometimes, you do not want to tell your parents everything. Potentially, you don’t want to upset them therefore it may be easier for you to write your emotions down and tell them this way. Even if this form of communication isn’t best for you, there are many online platforms or councillors where you can reach out anonymously. For example, Stay Alive or Clear Fear.

Whatever method you choose, communication is key. Therapy is an amazing form of coping and Miss Hammond acknowledges how in this ‘generation, therapy is becoming more normalised.’ Removing the stigma attached to therapy means that more people will attempt therapy and hopefully benefit from the process. Miss Hammond states that ‘everybody should have therapy on whatever level they need it.’ It is crucial to express how you feel, no matter whether it is once a week with a therapist or just opening up to a friend or relative.

Finally, coping mechanisms. Therapy: where you can speak openly about whatever is happening in your life. Therapy can help as a guide towards positive and healthy coping mechanisms. Some people will go straight to ‘what they want to do no matter how damaging it is’ however, for some, fidget toys will work. It depends on what is best for you. So, speak to those around you and decide.

But, in summary, there will always be someone, somewhere that you can connect to (whether it is a friend, family member or someone at school that you trust). Even if this is only at the surface level for the first part, showing somebody that you might need a bit of help is ‘the strongest you could ever possibly be and the bravest thing you could do.’ Miss Hammond agrees that ‘reaching out might be the hardest part but everyone will be eternally grateful once you have made that step.’