I have personal experience of how desperate and lonely waiting for support can be.
My name is Nicole and I am 19 years old. I am a YoungMinds Activist and have been since October 2022.
I signed up to take part in the #EndTheWait Parliament Event as I have personal experience of how desperate and lonely waiting for support can be. I also understand how important early intervention is to reduce trauma and distress for young people.
I have been in crisis and have been left to feel as though no help was ever going to come. No young person should have to reach crisis point before receiving suitable help.
I spent hours on end preparing what I was going to say, and tried to think of all the different aspects of my journey.
Leading up to the event, I had been assigned as the Youth Speaker for the day. I knew this would entail speaking to a room full of (what felt like) intimidatingly powerful people.
I spent hours on end preparing what I was going to say, and tried to think of all the different aspects of my journey, and how this supported the #EndTheWait campaign, that could be covered in five minutes. I had so much support from my mum and the staff from YoungMinds. Whenever I needed to check in with someone about my feelings around the event, they were there without any hesitation.
It was amazing that the Youth Engagement staff never wanted to change what I had to say. They fully supported me in my story and speech and prioritised my wellbeing.
During the actual event, it became very real very suddenly. The amount of water I drunk to try and dilute the nerves was unbelievable, and my poor bladder was paying the price! Nerves aside, it was an amazing opportunity to talk to MPs and answer any questions they had regarding the campaign.
Most MPs I spoke to were not that familiar with the work YoungMinds do, so this event really spotlighted the whole ethos of the charity - working with young people to advocate for change for young people.
I remembered that I am doing this for the millions of young people nationwide who cannot be a statistic anymore.
Most MPs/their secretaries listened attentively, and it felt as though they were keen to act and make a difference for the young people in their constituency. I personally told MPs how the support that I was offered came too late and after I had ended up in hospital too many times.
I made it clear that the #EndTheWait principles (NHS services that meet demand, support in schools, and early support hubs in each city) would help me and other young people who are struggling with mental ill health.
Having the opportunity to watch my peers talk to MPs filled me with immense pride. The amount of courage it takes to share your story to people of power is incredible. I feel extremely privileged to get to campaign with these young people and work together to fight for change.
The chance to address a room full of MPs, celebrities who champion mental health, and peers and staff from YoungMinds was amazing too. I stared directly at a member of the YoungMinds Youth Engagement team and the whole time I remembered that I am doing this for the millions of young people nationwide who cannot be a statistic anymore, as well as parents and carers who have had to support their children, keeping them safe and intervening when services failed to.
It gave me hope that young people will start seeing the change that is needed and deserved.
Being able to be at Parliament gave me hope. It gave me hope that young people will start seeing the change that is needed and deserved. It gave me hope that we were making enough noise that we had to be heard.
Although it’s unfortunate that we have gotten into this situation, I am hopeful that we can lay the stepping stones needed to lead us to a future where young people feel less alone with their mental health. But for now, these events are crucial to getting adequate support for young people nationwide, and by inviting your MP, you enabled this message to be heard by people who can influence change.
Thank you to each person who invited their MP and took time out of their day so that MPs could hear from myself and other Activists about how essential the #EndTheWait campaign is to supporting young people and their futures.
By inviting your MP, you enabled this message to be heard by people who can influence change.
More information and advice
We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.
Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
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