A person walking towards a building with a backpack on

Getting help as a young adult

Age – 22

Bio – Last year at university

Trying to access support as a young adult is very difficult. The perception of you by some adults is very tough. It’s like they still see you as a child.

Moving to adult services

I was under child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) for a little longer because it was exam season, before moving to adult services.

I was told how everything should go when moving to adult mental health services (AMHS), but it just wasn’t done. I hadn’t been assigned a care coordinator.

Finding another service

I got therapy through Mind and I was so glad that I did that. They were really dedicated. I was given 20 sessions which is the maximum you can get.

I found it difficult to open up and talk about things, and those 20 sessions flew by. We hadn’t managed to address as much as we wanted. I was supposed to have a 3 month break before I could be seen again. But I still had check-in sessions every 2 weeks in that time. The consistency and continuity of support was brilliant. I had the same therapist the whole way through.

We made great progress. Even when I came to university, we did some sessions over the phone. It just shows it is the person you end up working with rather than the service.

My project worker from Barnardo’s was really supportive and helpful when I couldn’t access the support that I needed, I still had someone to talk to.

Age was a barrier to getting help

I had to fight for some support whilst I was waiting. I was told that I was only 19 and shouldn’t be engulfed by my mental health when I called for support.

For my age to be a barrier for a service that was for people ages 18 and upwards was so frustrating. My age wasn’t something I could change!

I was going out and drinking all the time. This is part of university life, and not everyone who does it has something wrong. But for me, I started to realise when I was sneaking out and my friends didn’t know, and I knew I needed help.

I felt that if I wasn’t getting the help because I am young, then I am not going to get the help from them anyway. Then I thought about where I can go next.

Voice and Influence at Barnardo’s

I relied heavily on the Voice and Influence work I was doing at Barnardo’s. I found that it gave me a lot of peace. By being asked what services could do better it gave me a platform to be able to have my views heard.

The groups gave me a different way to talk about my feelings. I was able to express myself, and it was powerful and made a massive difference.

The things that I did got me through a lot, whilst trying to access support. I could express myself. I got to ask questions and get clarity.

The support from Barnardo’s in that time was really the only support that I had.

Help yourself

Help isn’t easy to come by and sometimes you need to get it from other places.

For me it was a lot of self-advocating. A lot of trying to get support for myself because I wasn’t that open with people around me. I was just trying to deal with everything on my own. Part of my acceptance has been to start let people around me help.

When I was with CAMHS there was no adult input. I would rather speak to a female (member of staff) and I had to go ask for that myself. I wanted to keep my family out of it. I was just trying to figure it out on my own. It was about survival.

I was one of those people who found it difficult to talk about things and how things were. It was Voice and Influence that changed that. I came to the realisation that things are bad, but it’s life.

You don’t need to make noise in a particular way, you just have to keep making it. You aren’t seeking attention, you just need help. You will eventually find that one person who will help.

therapy • self-help