My name is Morgan Siviter, I’m 17 diagnosed with autism and complex mental health needs and I am the West Midlands Rep for UK Youth Voice. I am also a local youth Councillor for disabilities in Dudley based in the Black Country. My roles are to make sure young people are being heard on a local and national level.
Youth loneliness is becoming a huge issue and we must combat it when lobbying and campaigning as this is the key to make change. Loneliness doesn’t just affect older people. The Co-Op’s “Trapped in a Bubble” research with the British Red Cross confirms that around one in three young people feel lonely often or always.
Being a young person with autism I’ve never had friends. People never want to associate with me. Is this because of my disability, or the way I look, or am a not cool enough? I often ask these questions to myself, but I personally feel lonely all the time.
Having autism affects the way I learn. I see things differently to other people and it also impacts on my daily functioning having reduced abilities than others. Mental illness has taken over the majority of me inside I often ask myself why me? I hear voices that are always there, they never seem to leave me alone. Self harming has been the main physical pain causing scars that will never go away this shows a past that can never be changed and forgotten. The mental health system failed me and I will never forgive what has happened to me. Things like being in mental health hospital and other scary things that the ordinary person will never see. I often felt my rights to the true me had been taken away.
Being a member of UK Youth Voice has helped develop my personal and social development skills. It also has helped me help other people by advocating on their behalf. UK Youth also helps by keeping me active and doing things. This helps my mental health as part of recovery is to keep active. Since being part of UK Youth Voice I have developed a true understanding network of friends who don’t care about my disabilities or my history of mental health. They just care about the person I am and the person I aim to be in the future.
UK Youth recently launched new research on youth loneliness supported by the Co-op Foundation, ‘A Place to Belong.’