Guest Post #9

I first got to know Siobhán towards the end of third year, and in TY we got to know each other a lot better when we were put in the same class. Siobhán is incredibly honest, so it was clear from the beginning that she was suffering from a mental illness; she never kept it a secret and that helped us to understand her better. I always admired her for this because although a lot of people don’t speak up about mental health, Siobhán has always wanted people to talk about it and give it the attention it badly needs.

We had always known Siobhán suffered from depression, but my friends and I began to notice that she was beginning to struggle a lot towards the end of TY. Things started to go downhill for her at the beginning of fifth year, and to be honest, it was hard for us to see one of our close friends in such a bad place. Nobody tells you what to do, or how you can help when someone you’re close to is battling against a number of mental issues. I think this is why it’s so vital that we aren’t afraid to talk about mental health. Being friends with Siobhán has really opened my eyes to positive mental health, and I really respect all the work that she is trying to do, for example with Think Big. We do our best to support all this extra work she is doing, and hopefully she knows that she can ask us for help at any time!

My advice to anyone that’s feeling down is to speak up, talk to someone you trust such as a friend, a family member or a teacher. I know that it’s clichéd, but a problem shared is a problem halved. The only way the stigma associated with mental health will go is if people are open and unbiased.

 Just remember that you’re not in this alone, and no matter how down you feel: there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

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