In this section of our website we will be showcasing stories and feedback that have come from our experts by experience. Check back regularly to see the latest from our experts.
If you would like to get involved with Level Up, Cheshire and Merseyside, Young People and Families Provider Collaborative, please visit our Expert by Experience recruitment section.
Nung is a member of the Level Up Expert by Experience Forum. Nung bravely shares her lived experience journey with us so that we may help other people and inspire change across young people and family’s mental health services in Cheshire and Merseyside.
In Nungs words:
"My experience began when I was 9 years-old when I first came to the UK. I went through difficulties during my childhood, but also, I wasn’t living with my parents, that’s quite usual in Asia. Your parents work somewhere else and leave you with family. Looking back this contributed greatly to my struggles and attachment difficulties.
"I really struggled to get through each day. I don’t think anyone else knew what was going on. My mental health deteriorated when I got bullied for the colour of my skin and my name.
"Even though there was support around me such as school, health professionals the bullying continued through other young people and via social media. It was constant. When you see and hear all those negative comments, after a while you unfortunately start believing them yourself.
"My mental health took a turn and I began to feel even worse. Once one bullying case was resolved a different bully would start. It affected me massively. It was a build up, constantly every day.
"Another difficulty was just after being reunited with my mum and dad in the UK, my dad sadly passed away unexpectedly. I was trying to deal with bereavement on top of this. It all started the build up inside. Eventually I felt like I was fizzing about to pop. I feel that’s how I would describe my mental health at the time.
"As I developed and aged I experienced other difficulties. I was at home alone when we were burgled. This heightened by anxiety and caused severe trauma. I think the trauma was suppressed, I didn’t want to deal with it and eventually it was just too much and everything came all at once. I was admitted to Ancora House Hospital an inpatient. I felt this was a short-term solution fix at that time. I then went into care where I got discharged to.
"My mental health issues built up over a period of time and it only made me feel more vulnerable and weaker for who I am.
"Speaking about it now, I’m in a much stronger place. I’m in a completely a different place to where I was two years ago.
"I joined Level Up Forum as an expert to help shape Specialised Mental Health Services for young people and families. I have highlighted my experience with a hope that services listen and learn. I don’t want anyone to go through the same struggles that I did.
"Level Up is a strong voice for young people and families across Cheshire and Merseyside. Listen to young people. We are the experts. We are the future."
Georgia, from our Experts by Experience programmes, shares her experience with accessing mental health services and why getting involved in shaping our services is important to her.
“I grew up in a very dysfunctional, family with a lot of mental health issues and domestic abuse. I suffered a lot of trauma and was put into care when I was eight and moved around quite a lot and had other traumatic experience, which affected me later on in life.
“I first came into contact with mental health services when I was 12 or 13, I had started to really struggle with my mental health and my risks escalated from there. My mood was really low, I’d experienced lots of trauma which then had a negative impact on my mental health.
“I developed an eating disorder and I started to self harm, and I was just really isolated. I didn’t tell anyone.
“When my school, and my foster carers found out, my social worker put a referral into child and adolescent mental health services. I waited quite a few months to see someone at first, and when I eventually did it was just an initial assessment. So, no support was actually offered.
“They were just assessing me for my mental health and my needs at that time. In the process of waiting, there was no support and in that few months I was getting worse and my physical health and my mental health were just deteriorating.
“That continued to happen, even when I did get access to services for my mental health and regular appointments it was too late because my risk had just become so high.
“When I was 16, I was sectioned for two years, and I had to move to five different wards in three separate hospitals. “Since my time in mental health services I’ve become a forum member for Level Up and EmpowerED because it gives me a purpose, and as an ex-service user for inpatient services it gives me a unique perspective and I feel like I’m truly able to give back.
“I like to be able to act as a voice for people who have previously not felt heard, and our feedback will help people who are at the beginning avoid the issues I’ve faced with mental health services".
“As a forum member I’m able to regularly meet with senior clinicians, alongside people like Tim Welch, Chief Executive of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as well as work alongside the commissioning team to make a difference to services across the North West.”