A student from Monmouth, Wales, whose anxiety got so bad she’d feel sick around other people, is now helping her peers to cope better with stress at school.
Breaghanna McMahon, 17, is concerned that young people seldom open up about their feelings for fear of being judged or not taken seriously.
Along with her team, she has created an interactive booklet with Fixers to help others talk about mental health and break the stigma.
‘I’ve had anxiety since I was 11,’ she says.
‘It got particularly bad at school, which can be an extremely stressful environment, particularly during exam time.
‘I wasn’t sleeping or really interacting with people and actually used to feel like throwing up when I was around others. It’s a lot of stress for a young person to handle.
‘It can be really difficult to explain to teachers and other people, so you end up bottling your emotions and getting on with life.’
Breaghanna manages her anxiety by attending counselling sessions to talk about how she’s feeling.
She also volunteers at a youth centre, which she says has massively helped her confidence and ability to speak with other people.
Her Fixers booklet offers those struggling with mental health issues a chance to write about how they’re feeling and gives tips on what can help them get through testing times.
She and her team plan to share it with local schools and youth centres, hoping it will help others their age.
‘I think it can be a great aid for people struggling with mental health,’ she adds.
Click below to see the booklet:
‘There is a lot of stigma around this issue, which prevents many from coming forward because they think they’re going to be judged.
‘It’s important for these individuals to firstly recognise there’s something wrong and secondly get help for it, which I think our resource will help them to do.’
Breaghannah's project was supported by The Wellcome Trust
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.