When Sasha was 14, she was introduced to Action for Children’s pioneering mental health initiative for young people, the Blues Programme.
Sasha had spent the past two years feeling anxious, having multiple panic attacks a day and often taking her emotions out through self-harm.
‘My mum and dad broke up when I was really young and I didn’t have any other way to express how I felt without talking, so I took to self-harming,’ she said.
Despite having reservations at first, Sasha went along and found that a lot of her friends were also having problems with their mental health.
‘It wasn’t just based on how we were feeling down,’ she added. ‘It was things that made us happy. It helped me stop focusing on the sad things as much and more on the happy side.
‘The Blues Programme didn’t solve all of my problems, but it made me understand that getting help isn’t as scary as you think. It was the stepping stone to getting more help - that little push I needed. Without it, I would still be self-harming and feeling low all the time. But now I feel strong.’
When coronavirus arrived, Sasha started to worry. ‘When everyone started talking about Covid-19, it confused me when people around me weren’t worrying,’ she said. ‘I kept thinking that everyone is going to die, I’m going to lose my nan and everything is going to be awful.
‘The thought made me feel physically sick, so when they said they were closing schools, I started having panic attacks again. I would get on the school bus and then have to get off with no idea where I was. I just had a sense of feeling overwhelmed.
‘But then I started to think of the things I’d learned on the programme. And I started to use the techniques they had taught me and some of the resources they were putting out and I started to feel more relaxed about it. Now my work is better because I can take a break. The tips they’re sharing online made me remember that going on a walk is normal, so now every day I look forward to that.’
Thanks to Royal Mail and Parcelforce, Sasha was given the tools to support her mental health through Action for Children’s Blues Programme. These techniques have been vital to supporting Sasha’s mental health throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
You can help support young people like Sasha through the Blues Programme in partnership with our charity partner. Join us on 20 November, when colleagues throughout the business will be dressing as a superhero for the day to raise money for Action for Children. For more information and how to get involved please visit: https://www.myroyalmail.com/RoyalMailSuperheroes. Thank you.
Note: This story has been anonymised to protect the identity of the young person and her mum.