Going back in time is the only way I can truly explain the gift that Well Informed is to me.
My teenage years were hard. I struggled a lot with anxiety and behaviours which came from these feelings. However, at the time I didn’t even know the word anxiety existed, never mind what anxiety is and it’s symptoms. I spiralled downwards in a sadness fed partly with these feelings that I didn’t understand or know.
It wasn’t this that was the worst part though. It was the fear. The fear of not knowing what I was experiencing. The fear of not understanding. The fear of others not knowing or understanding.
And this fear, it was contagious.
My family were consumed in it too. They didn’t know what to do, how to help, what to say. They didn’t understand my problems, didn’t know how to support me. That was hard for me. No words will ever do those feelings justice.
But, I don’t blame my family, because they had no way to learn how to help me, nowhere to go, no source of information and no suggestions on what to say. I don’t blame them, because, I know all too well, that fear is a powerful emotion, which often stems from not understanding. Fearing the unknown and often, what we fear, we avoid because we don’t know what else to do. My fear left me feeling so sad and alone.
And loneliness leads people to very dark places.
The power of our minds, means we can ask ourselves ‘what if’ questions and reflect on ‘what if’ things were different. My mind asks myself,
‘What if’ my family had a source of information that was easy to access, to the point and guided them to understanding and supporting my problems, silencing the fear within them? ‘What if’ I could have also accessed this guide to help me make sense of how I felt? ‘What if’ I knew I wasn’t alone?
Each ‘what if’ has so many different possible outcomes; it’s hard to say what would have happened. But, I do know this, support, reliable information which gave me an understanding and people showing me they cared was what pulled me away from that all-consuming sadness. Support and understanding is what helped me.
That is why I think Well Informed is so crucial, so important and so powerful, especially for those not working in mental health such as parents, youth workers and teachers. It’s why I encourage anyone supporting young people to read Well Informed, use it, absorb it, and share it. Knowledge really is the key. Well Informed bridges the gap between the unknown and the known for those working with and supporting young people. It closes that gap where fear hides.
Well Informed understands that at times young people need support from those around them, from those they trust. It gives you, as professionals, volunteers and carers supporting us the ability to do this. It helps you to support us. By doing this you are creating support and trust networks for each young person you work with. In these networks relationships improve, health increases and individuals blossom.
At Well Informed each mental health and wellbeing topic is broken down into five essential questions. These make it quick to navigate and easy to access what you most need to know. It takes you on a journey where the destination is better support.
Together we can make a difference
For me, Well Informed demonstrates the knowledge needed to make a difference to someone else’s mental health and life. It shows that understanding and support can mean the world to someone. That sometimes it’s the small things in life, the free things like support, which mean the most and help the most.