Nov 11, 2021

When I first started speaking at schools about bullying and mental health (which is based on my first book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”), I was not sure how much details about mental health issues to discuss in front of students. But fairly soon I realized that it was very important to discuss mental health issues with students, especially teenagers, because there are many kids who are facing similar issues but are not comfortable in sharing with other adults. It was clear that they saw me as an average person who has been through these struggles and has been able to recover.

Following my speeches I often received emails from teenagers who shared their issues with me. Here are some excerpts from a few of those emails:

“I was bullied a lot when I was younger, mostly because of my name, or my glasses. As I got older I used to write in my notebooks, that I wanted to kill myself.”

“I struggle with depression, and my dad doesn’t want to believe that I have it. I confide in my friends, and in my closest relatives for help. I’ve tried suicide a couple of times, and I self-harm.”

“I have a weird kind of ocd. It’s hard to explain but pretty much in the day I’m completely fine but in the night, I kind of have a time to think. And what I think about is “what if someone comes in here right now and stabs me” or other things like that.”

“I was bullied really bad in school too, and I actually thought there for a while suicide was the answer.”

“I passed what you said to me to one of my friends it helped her she quit self-harm.”

In almost all cases I tried my best to contact the school staff to encourage them to talk to the kids and find help for them if needed. It turned out that in many cases I was able to get the kids to understand that it is okay to talk openly about mental health issues and get the help they need.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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