When we think of mental ill-health, we usually think of adults and teens. But this young boy's letter to the NHS is a reminder that it affects children too.
Nine-year-old Paul from Norfolk wrote a letter to his local mental health services after he failed to meet the threshold for treatment for depression and anxiety.
Instead, he was sent to a local charity where he received temporary talking therapy sessions.His parents don’t think this is enough and they fear what the end of the sessions will mean.
They believe doctors are waiting for Paul to be diagnosed with autism – a two-year process. In the meantime, his depression and anxiety have only got worse.
"He’s not being diagnosed [with autism or depression] because the system is broken," his mum Claire told The Independent.
"Children are being failed. There is no one helping them because no one wants to talk about children’s mental health. If he broke his arm you wouldn’t leave him, so why do we think that mental health is going to get better on its own?"
And it seems young Paul shares his parents' concerns. In his letter to the NHS, he outlined exactly what his day-to-day life is like with depression.
"When I wake up, there's this horrible feeling down inside me but I don't know what it is," he wrote. "I normally say to myself you have to keep on going, I normally also say is it worth it."
Heartbreakingly, he then mentions that he has considered suicide.
"I could just kill myself," he wrote. "I wouldn't have to face today...At school, I use my chewy gum, ear defenders and wobble cushion to keep calm."
He then describes how hard it is for him at night, as he cannot even sleep properly.
"I feel so tired because I have sleeping problems. I take melotonin. At night, going to sleep is horrible. I think it's what death must feel like. I normally fall asleep, at about 10 o'clock."
You can view his handwritten letter below.
SHARE to raise awareness that kids are in need of better mental health support.