‘When I was thirteen I felt different. I felt awkward around people and completely avoided everyone. I’d get palpitations in my heart and could feel it beating really hard. I’d feel down, I'd not talk about anything, I was scared of being judged.'
Demi-Leigh Freeman tells how she bottled up feelings of anxiety and depression, because she was worried about what people might think.
The 19-year-old, who has since sought help from a doctor, is now working with Fixers to encourage young people to talk to someone if they need help.
Her story was broadcast on ITV News Central on February 2. Watch the film at the top of this page.
Demi-Leigh, from Dudley, West Midlands, says: ‘Mental health problems are a lot more common than people actually think, it could be a neighbour a friend, it could be anyone. My aim is to get people to reach out for help earlier because I wish I did.
‘My Fixers project is aimed at helping other young people to open up about any mental health issues. The sooner you seek help, the easier it is to recover.
‘I want to reduce the stigma around depression and anxiety, and other mental health conditions people may be struggling with.’
With Fixers, Demi-Leigh has created a poster campaign which aims to encourage her peers to be open about their feelings.
Click below to see the poster and read more about Demi-Leigh's story.
Dr Niall Galbraith from The Institute of Psychology, Wolverhampton University, supports the project.
He says: ‘Adolescence and young adulthood has always been a sensitive developmental stage where mental health problems often first emerge.
‘I think young people’s understanding of mental health issues may be improving, but there’s still a long way to go.
‘The project that Demi-Leigh is doing is just the thing that we need to see- to normalise mental health problems and also to open up a dialogue about how to seek help.’
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.