9-Year-Old Boy Writes a Heartbreaking Letter About Living With Anxiety and Depression
A harrowing letter was published in the Independent this week, written by a young boy suffering from depression and anxiety. In the letter, he describes a typical day in his life and it makes for tough reading.
Hello my name is Paul and this is a day in the life of me. When I wake up there’s this horrible feeling down inside me but I don’t know what it is. I normally say to myself you have to keep on going, I normally also say is it worth it.
I could just kill myself. I wouldn’t have to face today. I feel so tired because I have sleeping problems (I take melotonin). At school I use my chewy gum, ear defenders and wobble cushion to keep calm.
My friend gets bullied a lot so I have to stop them since they are my ‘friends’. At night going to sleep is horrible. I think it’s what death must feel like. I normally fall asleep, at about 10 o’clock.
The nine-year-old boy is currently waiting to receive confirmation of a diagnosis of autism which in the UK through the NHS can take up to two years. He, unfortunately, did not meet the requirements for treatment for the NHS children’s mental health service. Meanwhile a local charity has offered Paul talking therapy which according to his parents has helped their son however they fear what will happen when the weekly sessions are withdrawn.
Paul's mother Claire told the newspaper:
"He’s not being diagnosed [with autism or depression] because the system is broken."
"Children are being failed. There is no one helping them because no one wants to talk about children’s mental health. If he broke his arm you wouldn’t leave him, so why do we think that mental health is going to get better on its own?"
The family live in Norfolk and their local MP has met with authorities regarding the case and has campaigned for improvements in the children's mental health services.
“A lot of people ask, ‘What has a nine-year-old got to be depressed about?’ But it’s real,” said Claire.
“I don’t want him to be depressed; we are not a depressed family, we work hard.”
According to a 2012 report by the HSE
"16,664 Irish children (1.45% of population under 18 yrs.) are availing of Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. All community CAMHS teams screen children and adolescents referred to their services on the basis of the urgency of need. Children and adolescents in need of an urgent appointment are seen as a high priority while those with a lower acuity need may have to wait for longer. 45% of referrals are seen within 1 month of referral."
Visit The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services for more information.