“Not everyone is on the same path. If your path is in another direction, that’s ok” – Clayton (18)

As young people, we face stereotypes every single day. We’re put in boxes that we don’t belong in and everyone tells us who we should be, what we should do. Youth club is one of the only places I feel I can be myself and people talk to me rather than just tell me what to do.

The last year’s been really tough, and brought me a lot of worries. I worry about school, about what I’m about to do next in life, about moving away. I’m scared to fail. I’ve messed up my A levels and that’s got me so much anger, disappointment and frustration.

What I’m doing now is trying to process those emotions and understand that not everyone is on the same path. Even if your path is in another direction than what you’ve been told is “right”, that’s ok.

The pandemic meant I was put on furlough from my hospitality job. That was awful, not knowing when I was going to work again, and being paid so little. I wanted to work and I couldn’t. Now that we’re back, there are so many new rules in place and much more pressure on us to make sure we’re doing everything correctly. I’m going to my job and I’m being told exactly what to do again, just like in school and at home.

Lots of people, including professionals, take one look at me and assume I won’t want to get help for my mental health, for dealing with my feelings and emotions. But what I’ve learnt is that talking does help. Since I’ve been in therapy, my friends and family tell me I’m like a new person. I smile more, I’m more open and feel more free and in charge of my life.

I’d really like to see the government support young people more. We have a mental health crisis we’re dealing with, which has been made so much worse by the pandemic. If you want the future of our country to be better, than put funding in services for children and young people. We are the future and we’re telling you what we need. Listen to us and treat us with the respect we deserve. 




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