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Hi I’m James, I’m 17 and I’m here to talk to you about some of the reasons why being involved with participation groups is such a good idea as a young person with mental health issues.

I’ve been participating within Forward Thinking Birmingham’s groups for around a year and a half now. I have also worked with other mental health organisations such as Mind and attended various conferences.  All of these experiences have helped me to gain confidence, friendships and even a new perspective on other areas of the mental health world.

The main groups I have been a part of are Pause’s Hub Squad and Forward Thinking Birmingham’s Think4Brum. Both of these groups are incredibly well run and meetings are held very often. So many amazing opportunities arise from these groups and I’ve met tons of amazing people along the way. Thanks to groups run by the likes of Forward Thinking Birmingham, I have felt more accepted about my own mental health.  Not only are these groups fun and exciting to be involved in but they can also help you to release the stress of staying indoors and being depressed like I often was.  

My depression hasn’t magically disappeared and it probably never will but one thing you should always remember is that your illness doesn’t define you. How you choose to react to the situations it puts you in does. As for me, I chose to try and fight to keep my mental health stable by joining groups.

You don’t have to take one big leap into a group; even an email to enquire is a huge step. Remember, people can wait for you to be ready - the world’s not going anywhere.

If you’d like to find out more about participating in Forward Thinking Birmingham, take a look at our Think4Brum page.

James (left) and Bob, Forward Thinking Birmingham Participation Lead (right)

Image caption: James (left) with Bob, Forward Thinking Birmingham Participation Lead (right)