Using past experiences to help others – Louisa’s story

Our team here at Spotlight are all driven by a need to help others by providing support and care to those who need it most. Our Youth Social Action Lead Louisa is no exception. We sat down with her to talk about what she hopes to do and how her past fuelled her work towards a better future.

Louisa didn’t have a particularly great time at school after regularly being bullied. She was struggling with Depression and Disordered Eating during her final year, meaning that she had to lean on her teachers’ support, who she praises for helping her get good grades and allowing her to have a part-time timetable so she could work at her own pace.

Like thousands of young people in the UK, Louisa found herself struggling even with access to some local services, lacking motivation and continued to struggle with college. Following a stint at a job caring for young children that didn’t work out due to her mental health, she turned to a place that she had always felt welcome – Spotlight.

After growing up with Spotlight (her Mum is our founder Michaela), she jumped at the chance to work within the charity. Slowly her confidence returned. She found friends who understood her and could better manage her mental health.

It was immediately clear to Louisa that she wanted to do something to help others who had been in her situation or were currently living it. In her own words, ‘I can’t stop mental [ill] health, but if I can help one person, I’ve been successful.’

And she has been a success! Throwing herself in at the deep end with the rest of the team, Louisa has got stuck in with multiple initiatives focusing on mental health and wellbeing. After living with feelings of depression, isolation, and loneliness, she knew that young people were struggling with the pandemic.

From this, she came up with the idea of self soothe boxes to help people get through the national lockdowns we all faced. These have small treats for young people such as toys, a jar of hope, notebooks etc. All of which to give someone a reason to smile.

A small idea continued to grow, and quickly, Louisa needed to rely on volunteers to help her pack them and get them to children of all ages. Within a week, 1,000 packages were requested across the South East.

She is also an integral part of our Body Positivity movement and hopes to continue to grow further initiatives where she can help young people and make sure that what she went through wasn’t in vain. We can’t wait to see what she does because she has further plans to ‘help young people feel heard.’

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