For young people
If you are a young person reading this, take heart! However bad you are feeling right now, the odds are that you’ll feel better in the future... When we are young, our brains sometimes trick us into feeling that things are hopeless and that we’ll feel this way forever. One reason is that we have not yet had many experiences of overcoming our difficulties and of moving forward positively which give us confidence in our ability to cope and thrive. We also tend to feel things very strongly when we are younger; and are dealing with huge amounts of change and increasing responsibility.
In saying this I am not suggesting that you should ‘'just pull yourself together’ or 'stop taking things so seriously’... Things can feel very serious - and be very serious - when we are young, just as they can when we are older. What I am saying, is that given the right circumstances you can move things in a better direction.
When we are young, it is sometimes particularly difficult to see what options we have. Whilst those around us can be incredibly supportive and caring (though are sometimes part of the problem), they are not always the easiest or most useful people to talk to... We may fear worrying them, or being judged. Or we may be aware that what they want for us is different to what we want. This can make it very hard to work out what we really feel or think, and what we can change.
You may well be wondering 'who am I' or 'where do I fit in' or 'where am I going'?... You may be dealing with difficult relationships at home, school or work, or struggling with the pressure to succeed at school or university or elsewhere. You may have experienced loss or abuse or bullying or other difficult-to-handle life experiences. You may be self-harming, depressed or anxious, or dealing with other mental health issues. You may doubt your ability to cope and may be worrying about what comes next...
If things are getting you down for whatever reason, then talking to someone outside of the situation may help. It is normal to need support from time to time, and to ask for help. No problem is 'too small', and equally, receiving counselling does not mean you are ‘mad’ or unwell. A good counsellor can help you explore what's going on for you and your reactions to it, and how to get to a better place. They will listen, encourage and support - but not judge.
What you discuss with a counsellor will remain confidential unless you decide you want to share anything that is said. The key exception is if it is felt that further support should be put in place for you or someone close to you. Even then, your counsellor would discuss options with you first if at all possible.
Want help right now?
If you'd like someone to talk to right now, the Samaritans' 24-hour helpline on 116 123 (freephone) offers emotional support for anyone feeling down, experiencing distress or struggling to cope. They also offer an email service (on email@example.com) or face-to-face drop-ins in most towns (have a look for your local branch online).
If you are under 19, Childline offers a free 24-hour helpline on 0800 1111.
The Mix offer straight-talking emotional support 24 hours a day on 0808 808 4994. They also have a useful website with moderated discussion boards and a live chat room.
Papyrus offers a helpline for young people thinking about suicide, or those worried about others who are suicidal, on
0800 068 41 41, text to 07786 209697 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information - and more - is found on Mind's website.