Bullying & Mental Health

Keon is a young black British man in his late teens. During school is when the bullying and racism started. Name-calling, bullying, some children can be awful and pick on weakness and difference. In Keon’s case this difference was one he was unable to change – the colour of his skin.

Keon would try to act like he was “hard” and showed no emotion at school like nothing could affect him, and these names did not damage him – in fact he would often laugh it off – only very occasionally name calling back. He did this in the hope that it would stop, but it never really did.

This really effected Keon’s confidence, he felt frustrated, angry, and powerless to do anything to change his situation, he felt very different, isolated and not understood, this is where Keon’s anxiety and depression began.

College The Journey Continues

After school, Keon managed to go to college to start a course in IT, although he was now regularly suffering from the effects of anxiety, (finding it hard to sleep, worrying constantly about what his peers were thinking about him). To try to cope with his thoughts and feeling he got mixed up with some substance misuse, his friends did not understand his issues around anxiety and socialising – and would again make fun of him.

This only really made his anxiety worse and so it started to affect Keon’s behaviour; he chose to isolate himself further from his friends. He did this to protect himself from a fear of being hurt again and not being understood. After a couple of terms, he dropped out due to his anxiety.

Support from Parents

He reports his parents are “old school”, saying things like “it’s just the way things are” and “things will get better”, “you have to be strong”. His dad saying; “I used to get comments from the lads messing around when I was at school, it’s just the way things are son, you will get passed it ok”, “they are only probably jealous of your football and gaming skills anyway”! Keon did not believe any of these statements of support.

Self-Imposed Isolation & Suicidal ideation

Keon was in a self-imposed isolation, so lockdown measures didn’t really affect him, if anything in a way he felt more “normal” now everyone seemingly were not going out. Covid -19 only really gave him something else to worry about.

At his lowest mood, Keon contemplated suicide; why would the world miss him? His life didn’t matter, after all he was as he saw it useless and suffering from mental illness, totally worthless.

Help is out there

One night whilst feeling really low and scrolling through the internet, (researching about suicide methods), Keon found Darlington Minds website. Thankfully he reached out for help and called Darlington Mind’s reception on 07572 888084 and was referred onto phone Counselling line on, where he was also signposted to his GP to work through his difficult emotions and feelings and to try to put his experience around discrimination behind him.

A brighter future

This phone counselling enabled Keon to start to work though the many years of depression, discrimination and anxious thoughts and feelings he had been enduring. Instead of seeing himself as different and alone and with nothing to offer, he had begun to see that he did have things to offer the world – his life mattered – and he would not just take any abusive comments due to his race nor due to his mental health issues.

Keon still has a long way to go on his journey, but is making excellent progress he has started an online distance learning IT course, to finish what he started all those years ago. He has also started to apply for jobs again and is beginning to form new friendships on the internet and through his online course.

Help and Support

At Darlington Mind, we are here to support you as a person, no matter, your background, your race, or your disability. We celebrate equality and diversity and aim to offer you the support you need.

If you are going through issues similar to Keon, please don’t suffer alone, we can be that listening ear and help you, and to help you on your road to a brighter future. Please see contact options below:

Young People's Listening & Counselling Support Line (ages 11 - 18) or please see our support services
We're here to listen and help, non-judgemental, friendly, confidential – call 07432 843161 with confidence (weekdays) or email: childrensservice@darlingtonmind.com 

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