Teenagers have said a new podcast discussing mental health in young people has helped them to open up about their own experiences.
Finley, 16, from South Gloucestershire, talks about topics such as self-harm, anxiety and depression in his show called Unboxed.
He said he had the idea for the show during lockdown when many young people started struggling with their health.
The 12 weekly episodes will be broadcast ahead of Christmas.
“I think mental health isn’t spoken about much, especially among young people,” he said.
“At school we had a monthly assembly about wellbeing, but it was never discussed in much detail, so I think having a conversation with other young people about this is important.
“Lockdown was a big thing that impacted mental health. I myself found it quite difficult, suddenly being at home, but not being allowed to go out.
“It left many feeling out of control, and in wanting to get that control back, some young people started to self-harm.”
Finley approached the Bristol mental health charity Off The Record, and asked if anyone who was accessing their service wanted to talk on his show.
He said lots of teenagers came forward.
Jack, 17, from South Gloucestershire, listened to the podcast and said it made him “open up more”.
“Finley is very brave. He talks about mental health in a way that makes me want to talk, in a way that makes sense,” he said.
“Young people still don’t talk about it enough. It’s worrying.”
‘Stigmatised subject for men’
George, 16, who takes part in three episodes, said mental health was an “already extremely stigmatised subject” for men.
“I really hope that by taking part, both myself and all other speakers will encourage more people to speak out,” he said.
According to an NHS Digital survey, the mental health of children and young people has not improved since last year’s lockdown.
In the face of this, Finley hopes to create spaces where friends can at least start talking without fear.
“Because I’ve struggled myself I found it useful personally, but being able to host a conversation aiming to start others start talking made me feel quite proud of myself that I was trying to make change,” Finley said.
“If there’s one listener who gets something out of it, that would make me happy.”
News Source: BBC