Rowan’s story

‘Talking about your mental health doesn’t make you weaker’

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to encourage colleagues to support their own and others’ mental health.

Having a conversation with someone about their mental health can sometimes seem a little daunting and many people often worry about what to say or believe that they may say the ‘wrong’ thing.

According to our charity partner, Action for Children, 75 percent of adults with lifelong mental health issues first experience symptoms before they turn 18 and one in eight 5-19-year-olds in England have a diagnosable mental health condition.

You never know when someone may decide to talk to you about their mental health and it’s important to remember that the support you offer may be extremely valuable. Action for Children have provided guidance to help you tackle having a conversation with someone about their mental health. We hope these tips will be helpful.

One way that we are continuing to support youth mental health in particular is through Action for Children’s Blues Programme, a preventative mental health programme for 13-18 year olds, which has helped more than 5,000 young people since 2017. One of those, who has benefitted from the programme, is Rowan.

When Rowan was struggling with her own mental health, she kept it quiet. She was having low moods, finding it hard to focus and feeling anxious. ‘Generally, I wasn’t doing as well as I had done before,’ she said. ‘I started to feel worse about myself – less confident – and that put me off things I used to love doing. At first I tried to keep it to myself.’

Fortunately, Rowan’s friends noticed something was up and decided to ask what was wrong. She went to her school’s pastoral team, who suggested she try the Blues Programme.

‘While obviously I’m not suddenly miraculously amazing and super-confident, I’ve definitely learnt to deal with things a lot better and having completed the programme, I have become more confident in general.’

Without the Blues Programme, Rowan believes her situation would have become much harder to cope with. ‘I think I’d be in a much worse place now,’ she said. ‘I wouldn’t be very confident, and my grades would have gone down – which would have been a big problem in the future. Talking about your mental health doesn’t make you weaker.’

Thank you to everyone for all their help in funding the Blues Programme and helping young people like Rowan to talk about their mental health.

For more information on supporting adults, as well as children and young people struggling with their mental health, please visit:

19 May 2020