Hello, my name is Malikah and I have recently finished a series of counselling sessions with Stop.Breathe.Think. I want to tell you a little about me and why this service is so important for young people. I hope that my words will encourage other young people to ask for help if they need it too.

So I’m 17 and I’m from Hounslow in London. On the outside, I’m a regular teenager. I go to college where I study BTEC in Science. I live with my mum and two older siblings and I have always dreamt about becoming a paramedic. However, on the inside, with my mental health, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs.

From the age of 12 I have suffered with anxiety and it got so bad at one point that it would make me sick, I just couldn’t keep food down. I lost a lot of weight and had no energy so spent most of my time in bed instead of being at school. I was offered support from the NHS, but I was scared, I pushed people away.

My relationship with food has been a challenge. I wouldn’t eat because of my anxiety, but then that made me lose weight and my body changed and I didn’t like that either. It also really affected my hormones, my emotions were all over the place!

Things got a little better when I started college. I saw it as a fresh start, a place where no one knew me. I was petrified about going, but I knew it was what I needed. Luckily, I made some really great friends, who went above and beyond to help me. They encouraged me to speak to a GP because I was still struggling with my anxiety as well as with my relationship with food. I used to feel like I was having regular mental breakdowns, everything would just feel so overwhelming. The littlest things would get to me. I knew I needed to change as this wasn’t the life I wanted and after years of hiding my emotions, anxiety and not knowing how I truly felt, I was ready to get help.

I first found out about Stop.Breathe.Think by googling different options. I have never done counselling before, I was terrified to do it, but it was the best decision, and it has really changed my life.

The process was really easy, I just gave my name and contact details on the website. Someone then sent me a text asking me when I was free to have a chat and then regular sessions were organised from there!

My counsellor was amazing, reassuring and kind, someone who was able to give me the help I needed. Together we set goals and aspirations for the future. I started journaling, exercising and practising yoga. By the end of my sessions I was feeling so much better about myself.

As teenagers we go through so many changes but what I’ve learnt is to never give up. I can have setbacks but I can come back 10 times stronger. I’ve learnt how to take care of myself and prioritise myself as well as taking care of others. I’ve learnt how to be more honest and open and to not push people away that care about me. I’ve learnt it’s okay not to be okay and to take each day at a time.  A small change can change the way I look at life. I’ve learnt it’s okay to focus on me, even if I think I’m being selfish, it’s okay to reach out and get help. There is always hope.

My message to anyone who is struggling right now is that whatever the problem, it’s okay to reach out, to talk about it with someone. My Stop.Breathe.Think counsellor was a massive support, helping me get through it and teaching me that I’m never alone. There is always help and hope.

Are you a young person who would like to speak to a counsellor about how you’re feeling? If you are 21 or younger, click on the button below to request support. You’ll just be asked for your name, email address and/or phone number. A member of our team will then text or email you to arrange a time to talk.