We all know the teenage years can be difficult emotionally. Hormone imbalances, body changes, social expectations and the pressure of approaching adulthood can all take their toll. For some young people, the problems can spiral into something much more serious. Depression, eating disorders and self-harm are just some of the mental illnesses faced by British teenagers today.
Beth, 17, is one of the teenagers featured in the new series. Underneath her bright, funny exterior, she hides a history of self-harming and anorexia, which recently led to her being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
“With my anorexia, I say it’s another person, and I call it Anna. So at first Anna tried to be all nice to me to try to get me to lose weight, and I thought she was my friend. But friends don’t try and kill you. If I carried on doing what she wanted me to do I’d be dead,” she explains.
Beth was admitted voluntarily to a special mental health unit in Manchester, where she spent six months coming to terms with the seriousness of her problem.
According to mental health charity YoungMinds, there are around 850,000 young people suffering from mental health problems in the UK. That’s the equivalent of one in 10 (or three to every classroom) with a diagnosable mental health problem.
Despite the prevalence of mental illness, there is still a deep stigma attached to it. BBC Three’s ‘It’s a Mad World’ season is designed to raise awareness, dispel misconceptions and encourage people to reach out to their friends and family for help if necessary.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the way you feel. If you would like to speak to a professional in confidence about an issue, find out more by visiting our Types of Distress page.
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