Gemma received critical help and support from the Julian Campbell Foundation, and is now helping the foundation spread the word about its work with teenagers and young adults.
If I could take the position of my Year 11 teacher, Rachel, and talk to my just-turned 16-year-old self, slumped over with her head bowed to the floor in silence minutes after three teachers discovered she had lied about a friends bereavement; what would I say?
First I’d tell her to “shh”!
Not because she saying anything wrong - or saying anything at all for that matter - but because I would know that she would be hearing nothing but abuse from her own mind.
I know she would have a level of self-loathe that made answering questions about her actions almost impossible. The words leaving my mouth would make her squirm and feel an inner turmoil of guilt and pain that’s simply unbearable.
There aren’t many people who could fully understand the saddening reasons behind why someone would lie about something as horrendous as losing someone close to them. Explaining the state of mental anguish required to even take that action is not worth the effort, so my 16-year-old self remains silent.
So if I could speak to that 16-year-old Gemma, I would tell her “it is okay to be silent. What you’re experiencing right now will not last forever. I know at this moment you’re not ready to reach out and that is okay, I know one day you will find the strength to do so.”
I would tell her that when she does find the strength to reach out, it will be to an organisation that understands how my Year 11 teachers felt on that day when I was 16. I would tell her that The Julian Campbell Foundation will be the saving grace that saves her life.
I would advise her that she will once again be faced with having to admit to what she’d done. Except this time she won’t be silent; this time she will release the torture that has resided within her for the past years. She will see that what she said was not any evil that lived within her, only the cruel result of self-hate, low self-confidence and mental pain.
And I would tell her that only a few months later she would be confident, free and truly happy; thanks to the Julian Campbell Foundation.
You can find out more about my story in this YouTube video.
The Julian Campbell Foundation (JCF) is a charity set up to help children, teenagers and young adults who have undiagnosed forms of mental distress such as stress, anxiety or depression.
The foundation is dedicated to the brother of JCF founder, Jacqui. Through Julian's struggles and eventual suicide, Jacqui recognised the importance of identifying and managing mental health issues in teenagers and young adults.
Through the JCF, it is Jacqui's aim to reduce self-harm and death due to suicide.
Inzpire has supported the foundation for a number of years, and was saddened earlier this year to hear of the charity's struggle to survivde as a result of the pandemic. If you wish to donate to the charity to ensure it can continue its critical work, you can do so here:
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