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"For me, research means hope" - Katie's story

Katie describes how her mental health has been affected by traumatic events in her life. She's passionate about increasing understanding around young people's mental health. 

For the first 8 or 9 years, I didn’t even cry. 

But I began to self-harm – I found the physical pain took away from what I was feeling emotionally.

The trauma was from when I was 12 – my two older brothers were caught in a fire, which was deliberately started.

My brother Michael was critically injured, with third degree burns over a large portion of his body.

I was sat with my dad when a police officer came into the room and said that bodies had been discovered. My mum was really angry that the police officer told my dad the news with me sitting next to him.

I think people found my problems difficult to understand because I was so young –and I think I didn’t understand either.

Because of how strong I came across at the time, my mum thought it’s not possible for me to have problems, particularly at my age.

People need to stop putting age first.

katie and her family and christmas

Many people think because the trigger happened so long ago, you should be over it.

My first doctor told me it’s all in your head and you need to get over it.

Particularly for young people, people just don’t seem to accept that children and young people have mental health problems. 

‘They haven’t lived properly, what have they got to be stressed or upset about?’

That’s why I think mental health research is really important. It means hope. 

It’s such an important aspect of health. The illnesses you can’t see are the hardest –and they’re the ones we need to focus on. 

Research can help tackle the stigma. It can help people to see what kind of things can cause mental illness, what can bring it on – and that will help people relate.

Last updated: 26 July 2017

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