BBC PANORAMA: KIDS IN CRISIS

Distressing, harrowing yet all too familiar. Kids in Crisis is a snapshot of the critical condition Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are in.

The topic of young people’s mental health hit the mainstream audience last week. The BBC Panorama show Kids in Crisis opens with Sean Fletcher asking the loaded question “Just how sick do our children have to be to get treatment?” The show shares personal stories of young people’s journeys with CAMHS and explores the current state the system is facing.

For many viewers it would have been an eye opening experience to hear from the mouths of young people vocalising their suffering. Their parents wishing they knew what to do and longing to receive the support they know their child needs. Yet for others of us, we’re already painfully aware and are living in the reality of this crisis.

Kids in Crisis resonated with me in multiple ways. I was one of those young people.

When 14-year-old Jess uttered the words “I’m never gonna get better, I’m gonna stay in this dark hole for my whole life and eventually I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna take my life” it was like going back in time to my teenage self.

As an adult I live with depression and anxiety; fitting life around my mental illness. Yet as a teenager I was living some of my darkest days. My body was plagued by anxiety and depression and I didn’t know what to do. Self-harming in the school toilets was how I coped whilst the gremlins in my mind told me I wasn’t good enough to be alive.

My body has been a cocktail of anti-depressants and anxiety medication whilst trying to complete my GCSEs. I’ve waited for GP appointments only to be told I was born with depression so I need to get over it as i’ll always have it. Others telling me that it’s all normal teenage hormones that i’ll grow out of.

The thing is, I’m not sure feeling suicidal is something you can simply ‘grow out of.’

Parents taking part in the show reveal how distressing it is for them too. They filmed their children at some of their darkest moments so they had evidence to show their GP just how seriously ill their child was.

My mum text me once the show had aired saying she’d seen it and wanted to tell me how much she loved me, despite the pain of my teenage years. Her and I have the privilege of being ‘on the other side’ of CAMHS but what about those who are in the midst of it?

It scares me that over a decade later young people are echoing similar words to me. My heart aches for each child and young person who is not receiving the treatment they need. Change must happen.

We all can contribute to this change. Why not start by signing the YoungMinds #FightingFor petition for a new era of young people’s mental health.

The painful reality of this show is why I pursue a career young people’s mental health and why WIRED* was born. 

Kids in Crisis closes with a parent sharing the following powerful statement:

“How many children out there are on a waiting list, deteriorating, going to have to be admitted to a unit because they’re being ignored and not having an intervention early. This is our next generation and they are in crisis.”

Kids in Crisis can be found on BBC Panorama here.

Useful websites and helplines:

The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@themix.org.uk

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)

*WIRED is a brand new social enterprise which supports the mental health and emotional well-being of young people; through education, training and intervention. Connect with WIRED on social media and help us unravel anxious young minds. 
Facebook: /ProjectWiredUK
Twitter: @ProjectWiredUK
Insta: /ProjectWiredUK

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