"Whenever I try something new I’m anxious. That’s just the way I am. It’s not the way I was brought up, it’s just the way I am … I feel sick a bit, you know what I mean, and it’s just one of those things and it really annoys me, it really does."
This is how one young woman described her feelings of constant worry when she was interviewed for the What's Happening..? project. The project aimed to explore the views of young people with learning disabilities who are experiencing anxiety and/or depression.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Stirling and focused on the way in which young people and their family carers identify and understand emotional difficulties. It helped a small number of young people to talk about their own experiences of mental distress, how they coped and the support they received. In addition, it explored how family carers and care staff respond to young people’s needs and how well health, social care and other services support them.
The project used photo and video diaries to facilitate communication and understanding between the researchers and the young people. Findings showed that the young people had varying degrees of insight into their own feelings and situations. However, the services they and their carers accessed were patchy and inconsistent.
Jill has 20 years' experience working with children and adults with learning disabilities. She is an RNLD and has a BSc Degree in Psychology. She serves as Chair of the Transition Information Network steering group and is part of the PMLD network.