Teens Talk About Mental Health Awards

It takes a strong person to talk about their own mental health issues, but Bronwyn Burton and Rebecca Addo have decided to do just that.

Bronwyn, age 15, was awarded a certificate at the CYA Awards event on 21st April for the way she has overcome her anxiety and OCD. CYA is part of Surrey Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Bronwyn had been receiving support from CAMHS as well as counselling at school.

Bronwyn, a boarder at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, started suffering from anxiety and OCD three years ago “I used to think it was normal and that other people had the same issues but just weren’t talking about it. Then I was too scared to say anything in case it wasn’t normal. But one night I was up until one or two o’clock in the morning with non-stop anxiety and I realised it wasn’t normal.” Bronwyn spoke to a teacher and was subsequently given counselling at school. She was also referred to CAMHS.

Since she took the step to talk to someone about her anxiety and OCD Bronwyn has received support not only from the school and CAHMS, but also from her family and friends. “My condition has improved bit by bit and I still get support. I don’t think I will ever be completely cured, but now I know what to do to make it easier to manage. I have had cognitive behavioural therapy and exposure therapy which have helped me to face up to the issues I had. I have also learnt about OCD. My life’s not that hard anymore and I am able to face my GCSEs now that I have the strategies to help me cope with the stress.”  

Rebecca, 15, also benefited from the support she received with her mental health. She said, “There was a bereavement in my family and I struggled to cope with it. I had counselling from CAMHS and it helped me to understand that everyone has struggles sometimes, that’s normal, and now I know how to move on.”

Bronwyn concluded, “There shouldn’t be a stigma about mental health. Often people are too scared to talk about it as they are afraid of being judged. But it could get worse if you don’t talk about it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Mary Clair Kelly, a School Counsellor at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School said “I was so proud to see how these two young women have become strong and resilient. It is wonderful that their achievements have been recognised and I hope this will encourage other young people to seek support when they need it.”

Headmaster, Mark Dixon said “Bronwyn and Rebecca have made great progress since they first talked to someone about their anxieties. I am sure there are other children who are suffering from similar issues and I would urge them to tell someone so they can receive the support they need.”

26 April 2017


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