Would you recognise when everyday feelings of anxiety are getting out of control?
Leeanne Turkington, 22, from Lisburn in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, wants to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health.
She has made a film to show young people how to recognise when anxiety is getting out of control and becoming a mental health issue, and to show they are not alone.
‘It’s not easy to talk about mental health, especially if it’s your own. For many of us it can be hard to recognise when normal anxiety stops being normal and becomes a problem.’ said Leeanne.
‘Anxious thoughts can take over normal life if they are about things unlikely to happen or events that are out of your control.’
In 2013, there were over 8.2 million cases of anxiety in UK and one in four of us will suffer a mental health condition at some point in our lives.
Despite help being made available to people struggling with mental health, Leanne believes people continue to suffer in silence. They may think they can manage alone, fear being judged, or don’t know what help there is available.
The film shows a student unable to focus on her work before having a panic attack and withdrawing to a space on her own. Eventually the girl is discovered hiding in a cloakroom and is reassured she won’t be left alone.
Leeanne hopes her film, which received great feedback from mental health practitioners, will encourage more young people to speak out and recognise they are not alone.
‘This is a useful resource for people who are unfamiliar with mental health issues,’ said Debbie, a mental health patient who watched the film ‘I think it sends a clear message without overcomplicating and reassures sufferers they are not alone, without downplaying the problems they may face.’
Leanne hopes to distribute the film among schools and colleges in her local area to help other young people recognise when ‘normal’ levels of anxiety can take over and become overwhelming.
‘If you're worrying all the time about things that are a regular part of everyday life or if you’re concerned about your anxiety or experiencing regular negative effects or panic attacks then you’re not alone. There is help available,’ she said.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.