Oban’s Heather opens up about mental health for Time to Talk Day

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An Oban teenager has opened up about her struggles with mental health.

After grappling with anxiety and depression, Heather Fothergill started to self-harm and have suicidal thoughts.

The 18-year-old told someone about how she was feeling and said if she had not, she doesn’t think she would be here today.

Heather’s story was shared by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) to mark Time To Talk Day 2019, which takes place today, February 7.

In a video, the former Oban High School pupil said: ‘My name’s Heather and this is my story about my depression and anxiety.

‘So my story mainly started when I was physically ill for quite a while and then I was going for tests and everything like that.

‘That’s when I started to find myself being completely unmotivated and trying to avoid all sorts of social situations as much as I could. Just thinking abut all those situations would fill me with huge dread and fear. It’s indescribable how scary that is being stuck in your own head.

‘I was so completely overwhelmed by all these emotions, everything was just completely too much.’

Heather described it as like being numb.

‘I would try to feel someone’s emotions towards me. I couldn’t, and as much as I tried I couldn’t,’ she continued. ‘That’s the loneliest place you can be.

‘I felt so hopeless and so completely numb that I started to self-harm and I started to have really strong and frequent suicidal thoughts.

‘At this point, I think almost one of my lowest points, I made the best decision I think I could ever have made and that was to tell someone how I was feeling.

‘If I hadn’t told someone at that point, I don’t think I’d be here today.

‘Once I spoke out about how I was feeling to the important people that needed to know, I started getting help.

‘You’re never too busy for someone because that can push someone over the edge and it almost did with me a few times.

‘If someone needs a hug or some love, just give it to them, because that can make a huge difference.

‘I’m not fixed magically, not at all, but I’m getting better.’

Jo Anderson, director of external affairs at SAMH said: ‘We know that conversations have the power to change lives, so we’re pleased to join our partners, See Me, in supporting Time To Talk Day and encouraging everyone to start the conversation about mental health.

‘By sharing her own story about how talking to someone helped her, Heather has played a really important part in sharing this message, and we’d like to say a huge thank you to her for that.

‘If you want to start talking about mental health but don’t know where to start, the SAMH website has lots of information that could help you.’