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Mother-of-two shares her experience of mental health at awareness conference

PUBLISHED: 08:23 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:10 22 March 2018

Wayne Copsey, of the Matthew Project who works with ex forces personnel, speaks about PTSD at the Serenity Training mental health first aid conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Wayne Copsey, of the Matthew Project who works with ex forces personnel, speaks about PTSD at the Serenity Training mental health first aid conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A mother-of-two has urged people to support children living with mental health conditions.

Harriet Howes, employment solicitor from Leathes Prior, speaks about the law and mental health at the Serenity Training mental health first aid conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHarriet Howes, employment solicitor from Leathes Prior, speaks about the law and mental health at the Serenity Training mental health first aid conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Claire, from Norwich, addressed a large audience at The Space on Tuesday, March 20 during a conference to raise awareness of mental health and increase the understanding of a variety of conditions.

She explained her own personal experiences with her two children, Paul and Issy, and how they managed to overcome barriers. She also spoke about things the family used for support.

She said: “I’m just a parent, I’m no expert. When my son was in year four his mental health went into decline. He felt his friends were growing up but he wasn’t, they would find questions in maths easy, but Paul would find them hard.

“We were faced with little help and understanding from teachers and were turned away from the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) because my son wasn’t ‘suicidal enough’.

Harriet Howes, employment solicitor from Leathes Prior, speaks about the law and mental health at the Serenity Training mental health first aid conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHarriet Howes, employment solicitor from Leathes Prior, speaks about the law and mental health at the Serenity Training mental health first aid conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and it helped him to realise that he isn’t broken, he has Asperger’s. My advice is to not be afraid to ask for help. If you’re a parent it doesn’t mean you’ve failed if you ask for help.”

She ended by saying that children who struggle with mental health will grow into adults that struggle with mental health.

Speakers from organisations and businesses also took to the stage to offer preventative advice and support that the audience could use in their workplace.

Graham Boulter, from Wellbeing Therapies in Norwich, works with people to reduce stress and anxiety. He said: “We’re in a time where there’s a lot of stress and demands at work are a big cause. Even not being supported in the work place by you manager and colleagues can place a lot of stress on you.”

Andrea Bell. from ADHD Norfolk. spoke about her experiences of living with ADHD and the lack of understanding people have of those with the condition. “Children and adults living with ADHD can’t filter out all the noise in the background when trying to listen to someone. In the UK 60pc of parents felt they had been given little or no positive support from their child’s GP. Having a diagnosis has empowered me.”

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