Kamran Khan and mum Helen KhanBradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is backing Children’s Mental Health Week – 7-13 February 2022. This year’s theme is ‘Growing Together’, encouraging children (and adults) to consider how they have grown, or how they can help others to grow.

Bright, cheerful and positive, sixteen-year-old Kamran Khan welcomed Children’s Mental Health Week, having been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The support and diagnosis he received from the Care Trust’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHs) has helped to transform his life. Kamran is now using his own experience to encourage other young people to get support.

ADHD is a condition that affects people’s behaviour. Often people with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and act on impulse. Some issues that may arise in day-to-day life include: listening to and carrying out instructions, being organised and social occasions.

Despite some good pastoral support in school, Kamran still found himself in frequent detentions for disruptive behavior. Kamran explained: “I would get disciplined at school for things that I couldn’t really help, like being fidgety, loud or for tapping. Part of my ADHD is that I am very disorganised and have a bad memory, so I forget and end up losing a lot of things. For example, I’d walk into class and have five pencils and a highlighter and by the end of the class I wouldn’t have any of them. I’d be in detention at the end of the day because I didn’t have the correct equipment.”

Explaining how it felt to be put on detention, Kamran said: “It knocked me. During that time, I struggled quite a lot mental health wise. It was a low point.  It made me feel like I didn’t fit in with anyone.” Kamran continued: “I felt like when I was at school, when I voiced my needs, they weren’t being met. I started seeing Khazina Hussain, a senior occupational therapist from CAMHs, this year and she took control and understood my needs and voiced them and they were met. She made life easier and better for me.  Khazina was the turning point. When I explained what was going on for me, she understood.”

With a promising future ahead of him, Kamran is now studying at Shipley College.  Kamran said: “I’m getting the support I need at college. They’ve put plans in place for me and have listened. They’ve ordered me my own set of fidget gadgets and sent emails out to all my tutors explaining my situation.”

Kamran’s mum, Helen Khan, added: “When Khazina came to see Kamran he hadn’t had his ADHD assessment. She listened and observed and got him straight away. He was able to communicate with her in a way that he wasn’t able to communicate with anyone else, because she understood. She was able to suggest things like fidget toys to support him with his ADHD. He now has the confidence to go into college and say, ‘these are the things that I need’. This has been a great transition – going from nothing working for him to actually finding stuff, with Khazina’s support, that do work for him.”

Kamran reflected: “It was 15 April 2020 when I got the diagnosis. The way I see my ADHD is that it makes me. I couldn’t imagine myself without it. The good side of having this is that it helps me stay bubbly even if the overall mood in the room isn’t at the highest, mine still will be. Going to CAMHs and having the diagnosis helped me get the recognition, understanding and support I needed. Without CAMHs in school I would have really struggled.”

Khazina Hussain, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust Senior Occupational Therapist comments: “Kamran comes from a very caring and supportive family but his experiences in school impacted on his mental health and self-confidence. I wanted to work with school to break down some of the barriers and stigma that come alongside neurodevelopmental conditions such as, ADHD.  Over the time I have worked with Kamran he has become one of the most insightful and reflective young people I have had the privilege of working with. His positivity and zest for wanting to do the very best he can shines through like the star he is!”

The Trust’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service is available to support young people in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven experiencing emotional and mental health issues. Referrals are accepted from a variety of health professionals, including GPs, hospital doctors, school nurses and health visitors. To find out more visit: www.bdct.nhs.uk/services/child-adolescent-mental-health-camhs/

For information on all mental health and wellbeing support services in Bradford and Craven and self-help resources and apps, visit www.healthyminds.services.