• English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
Back to Firefly Blog

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

Typically, and now a more well-known fact is that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health condition in a given year.

Between 25 & 40% of people with learning disabilities experience mental health problems.

Of young people and children, the rate of a diagnosable psychiatric disorder is 38% where there is a learning difficulty compared to 8% of those who don’t.

These children and young people are also 33 times more likely to be on the autistic spectrum.

Furthermore; lets not overlook carers who look after family members with a mental health condition, are likely to have an impact on their own mental health, some 71% of carers have poor physical or mental health.

Early intervention is paramount, not only this but normalising mental health early on and removing any stigma.

I have an autistic son and have experienced depression and anxiety myself in the past.

I never want my son to experience these emotions.

The statistics above tell me that he has a higher chance though than most people. The emotional wellbeing and mental health of young autistic people is often overlooked as many of their symptoms could appear "typical" of the condition itself.

For years I had anxiety but didn’t know what it was, didn’t know how to explain it to others. I remember telling my Dr “my chest is tight, and I feel like I can’t get my big breath, like I do a lot of yawning to try and draw breath” – this was about 12 years ago when I was pregnant, and he sent me to hospital to check my oxygen levels.

No one identified it as a mild anxiety attack – not one of the professionals.

Your bodies are very clever things, when you’re feeling anxious or stressed, stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released.

These hormones cause the physical symptoms.

Other symptoms, that could easily be dismissed are:

• Feelings of worry or unease
• Insomnia
• Lack of concentration
• Feeling irritable
• Feeling on-edge
• The need of reassurance
• Tearfulness

I had the chance in my workplace to join a training programme to become a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and I leaped at the chance.

It was my own experiences of suffering with mental health and brining up a child with a disability that helped me get a place on the course.

The training covered the history of mental health and how the stigma originated from people who were placed in “mental institutions”.

I will never forget the first group task which was to write down on a piece of paper a list of negatives words linked to mental health and a list of positive, try it yourself.

We quickly reeled off all the negative associations but could not think of a single positive, it was very sad.

We completed this task at the end of the two-day course and we found that we actually filled up the positive list first with words like optimism, healing, recovery, support, truth, peace, courage, hope.

Its changing your mindset, imagine a world where people didn’t have the negative associations.

We have the power in schools and as parents to teach the next generations that its ok not to be ok and trying to find the positives first.

Please find below some government websites for advice and support:

Mind - for better mental health:

Carers Trust:


Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Zowie Kaye

Meet Our Blogger

My Big Fat Greek Family – we love our food and love each other even more. We're a like liquorice allsorts, all a bit different. I’m a full time working mum and married my best friend Jay. I thought my life was great until I became a mum and then realised it was complete. A few of our family allsorts may seem broken – they are not, they are just a bit different!

View Zowie’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on

Purchases on £99+

UK Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of £99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on purchases of £99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 4-month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 4 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • Any remaining balance due after the 4-month promotional period or any transactions under £99 will be charged interest at 19.9% p.a. (variable).

Purchases of £98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend £98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • In order to maintain the 0% offer, you need to keep up monthly repayments and stay within your credit limit. Credit subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. UK residents only.

Please wait...