Jane Slatter, SI St Albans and District
Katy was the perfect inspirational speaker to demonstrate the SIGBI theme for 2018/19 – all Soroptimist delegates were on their feet to give this brave young woman a standing ovation, they were so moved by her story of her personal journey with the ups and downs of suffering from mental illness.
Katy described living her young life constantly scared and anxious. She was unable to tell anyone how she felt. When Katy did start to tell her teachers and parents she still hated herself and believed others hated her – reinforced by being bullied at school.
She was referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) through which she is learning coping mechanisms and now she is back in control and she knows, with 1 in 4 people suffering from mental health problems, that she is not alone.
Last year Katy had the opportunity to travel with the charity Toilet Twinning to meet a 14 year old girl called Monica who lives in rural Zambia with her family who didn’t have a toilet. Not having a toilet meant that Monica suffered constant anxiety and fear of being attacked, bitten by snakes and shame just from going to the toilet. Now that the village has toilets provided by Toilet Twinning their fears have been lifted. Monica gave Katy the motivation of “if she can deal with her problems, then I can deal with mine”.
Katy showed us a short and excellent film of her work in Zambia. Watch Katy’s story in the video below.
She ended by saying “opening up has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done – and the best. I’m Katy, I’m 15 and I’m happy”.