'Don't be scared to speak to someone': The young mental health campaigners fighting for change

Credit: ITV News

A group of campaigners in West Cumbria are hoping to lead change in youth mental health services.

WE WILL was set up after noticing a lack of support for young people in Maryport - it has released a number of videos encouraging people to speak out.

They say they have seen a rise in the number of people getting in touch for support, because of the pandemic.

Rebecca, from WE WILL', told ITV Border: "We setup the group about 2 or 3 years ago now, to lead change and see how we can help as young people because we believe young people are the best place to make change.

"We have done years of research and we realised the most important thing is actually listening.

"We all think we're good listeners but the reality is, at the time, we're not. We believe you should listen to understand, not to respond. Don't be scared to speak to someone, everyone is there for each other and everyone wants you to feel okay."

Credit: We Will

Like almost everyone, the group's work in the community has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. But keen to ensure no one suffers in silence, We Will is now holding support sessions online. 

Hannah said:" We need to make sure at the minute that nobody feels alone so if you are worried about someone, just message them and say, 'are you ok?' but don't ask once, keep on asking,  because the first time most people say 'yeah i'm fine don't worry' but actually if you ask again people say ' no, actually, I am struggling.'

"At the minute we are seeing that a lot more people are reaching out a lot more and asking for help.

"These services are still running, they may look a bit different and be online or on the telephone but they are still there."

The group have released a number of videos encouraging people to talk about their mental health. Credit: We Will

The young campaigners work closely with suicide prevention charity Every Life Matters . They've released a series of videos with advice about how to offer support to someone who may be struggling.

Ian, from Every Life Matters, believes young people can really make a difference. He said: "The young campaigners not only act as role models for their own age group but they also show older adults that it is also ok to talk about it, at any age.

"There's no right or wrong thing to say to someone just being willing to listen to their thoughts and they're feeling as that could be the moment that person has been waiting for. Just be willing to have that conversation because it could be potentially lifesaving."

With Covid restrictions leading to a rise in people feeling isolated. WE WILL hope their online sessions will offer support, so that even when we're apart, we're never alone.

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