image of Kate WilsonKate Wilson knows what it’s like to live with mental ill-health. Kate first developed depression at the age of 13 after being bullied at school for being overweight and suffering from chronic fatigue, which left her bedbound for three years.  Over a decade later Kate now uses her own experience to help young people overcome mental ill-health through her work with Barnardo’s.

The stress of being bullied, coupled with having glandular fever during that time was the catalyst for Kate developing chronic fatigue. Kate said: “I would sleep 24/7 and you couldn’t wake me up. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything, I just slept.” This had a massive impact on Kate being able to attend school, and as a result, she lost her confidence along with her friends.  Kate said: “I lost my friends at that time because I couldn’t physically do the things that they wanted to do, and people at school thought that I’d been off because I was pregnant or had been on drugs, it was just awful.”

Elaborating further on being bullied at school, Kate said:  “I had coursework stolen that I had to rewrite in a week, work that had previously taken me a year to complete; I was spat on, I was hit, I had my coat destroyed… you name it, it happened.” At the age of 14, Kate got involved with Barnardo’s as she didn’t want other young people to experience what she had gone through and became part of a young person’s healthy minds participation service, speaking at conferences on bullying and mental health problems.

At the age of 16 Kate returned to education and successfully completed her GCSEs at college, where she developed new friendships that have stood the test of time.

Commenting on the new safe space for children and young people in mental distress or crisis, Kate said: “When I was poorly I couldn’t bear to be in my bedroom.  I had to redecorate it as everything in that room reminded me of being ill, low, depressed and feeling rubbish.  Sometimes you need space from an environment that feels toxic to you. Even though I’ve had a really supportive family, and they would have done anything for me, when you’re in such a low mood, severely depressed and want to end your life, having a safe space to go to for a night would have been really helpful.  It would have given me the chance to speak to someone else in a different setting. There are also lots of young people that don’t have that support and don’t get on with their parents, so this new service will give people the chance to talk, stay in a supportive space for one night and take time out to think about what is going on for them – it will be so valuable!”

Skip to content