A college learner who previously missed school after battling anxiety is raising awareness about the mental illness after an adult branded her ‘hormonal’.
Coleg y Cymoedd learner Bethany Lamb is now working with Fixers to help schools identify mental health problems so they can help pupils.
Bethan, who is studying Level 3 Health and Social Care at the Ystrad Mynach campus, says: “I had a lot of adults telling me it was hormones and that I would get over it.
‘I really want that to change. I think it’s important for people to realise the difference between attention seeking and genuine problems so that young sufferers of anxiety can receive the help they need.”
The 17-year-old, from Blackwood, says her experience left her feeling anxious and more isolated.
She says: “In year nine I was periodically taken out of lessons and in my last six months I had a mental block that made me unable to even walk through the school gates.
‘Schools have lots of help for the disabled and those with learning difficulties, but not so much for mental health issues like anxiety.”
With Fixers Bethany has created leaflets and business cards highlighting the symptoms of anxiety.
She says: “I hope people will look at the leaflet and be able to relate to it and empathise with a person suffering from anxiety. Ultimately, I want people to take mental health in adolescents seriously.”
It was only when Bethany started seeing a counsellor that she started to understand her anxiety and was able to explore ways to cope with the mental illness.
The teenager, who managed to pass her GCSEs despite missing school, is now studying Health and Social Care at the Ystrad Mynach campus of Coleg y Cymoedd and is looking forward to her future.
Find out more about the work Fixers do at: http://www.fixers.org.uk/index.php?module_instance_id=1133&option=change_language&language=1