In my work as a reporter I have always admired people who bravely share their mental health stories with me.

It is never easy for them to tell me, but I always make sure I listen carefully to them.

I have the privilege of exploring the raw emotions of the struggles everyday people face with mental health and reporting on the amazing work that charities do in various regions, but for Time to Talk Day 2024 I want to share my story with you.

You don’t have to struggle with your mental health to understand how it can completely break someone.

The struggles

I was only 16 when I first realised the hold depression can have. I was sitting in my younger sister’s room chatting about what happened at school. We would often do this because she attended a different high school. 

She was explaining an altercation she had with a former classmate. But when I looked down to see her white school shirt spotted with blood, I pulled up her shirt to find self-harm marks.

How could my 14-year-old sister feel like this? However, thinking back I realised that she had become completely withdrawn from conversations and kept herself to her room most days.

You see mental health being discussed on social media, but you never know what it truly feels like until it hits you in the face with the people you love the most. 

She later told me she’d been feeling like this for a while and that she suffered badly from “dark thoughts”.

It took us over a year to get a Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) appointment that my sister desperately needed. But it was when we arrived home from that first meeting feeling slightly more optimistic that our world collapsed around us.

My dad had decided to pack his bags and leave. What we thought was him not being able to cope with my sister’s mental health was in fact him hiding his own struggles.

He had been suffering alone, too afraid to speak out about his demons because he was embarrassed.


It broke me. I began to simply exist and not live. What is not talked about enough is the pain that the person suffering leaves on family and friends. My mum and I relied on each other to get us through one of the darkest times we ever had to experience.

We both felt so alone while we were trying to help my dad and sister. We were too focussed on getting them better that we risked our own personal suffering. It should have never been like that.

If I had known how powerful a conversation would have been then, I would have opened up a long time ago.

I am in a fortunate position to say that my family are now one unit after both my sister and dad got help, but I know not everyone will be in my shoes.

It doesn’t matter who you are - you should never feel embarrassed about your mental health. Please talk to someone.

You are never in this alone. Let's start the conversation.

If you are struggling and need someone to talk to, here are the helpline numbers available: 

Samaritans: Call 116 123.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): Call 0800 58 58 58.

Childline: Call 0800 1111.

You can also text Shout to 85258 for 24-hour support in a crisis.

This article has been written as part of our participation in Time to Talk Day 2024.