A TEENAGER from Clydebank has shared her terrible experience of battling mental health problems – in the hope of raising awareness of the issue.

Sixteen-year-old Wiktoria Bak’s mental health started to deteriorate when she was just 11 years old.

The St Peter the Apostle pupil has suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety since that young age.

But she has praised a “dedicated” support service that has helped her through the difficult journey.

Wiktoria said: “I have been insanely lucky to be supported by Includem through both my time of struggle and my process of recovery. They have supported me in times I needed it most and in ways nobody else could have.

“They have put structure into my life when everything was crumbling to pieces and every one of my workers has inspired me in their own unique way and helped build me up into the person that I am today.

“There are no words in the world to describe how dedicated they are in helping their young people and I am proud to say that they have helped me change my life around for the better.”

Wiktoria hopes that speaking out will reach at least one person who needs to hear that they are not alone.

In January 2016, the teenager spent a few months in hospital and was admitted for a few more stays afterwards.

Although Wiktoria says that just now is the happiest that she has ever been – she told the Post she cannot escape bad days. But recovery for me is about balance and I’ve definitely found that,” Wiktoria said.

“It’s hard to say exactly where my recovery began and why it began because, with mental illness, the person needs to want to get better but at times they’re not ready when they receive support from services.

“But Includem definitely put structure into my life when everything was crashing down. Their support was very much needed, just like it was needed from family, friends and staff at school.”

One coping mechanism Wiktoria finds comfort in is writing poetry. Through Includem, she got the chance to read one of her pieces to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, titled I Do Not Speak.

The poem explores different aspects of Wiktoria’s personal journey through various mental health issues which she says are often discussed yet rarely understood.

Wiktoria explains: “In the beginning, it explores a theme of complex alienation and withdrawal from society and self, which soon evolves into a theme of learning to love and accept myself and my history, while also shining light on the fact that no matter how hard you hit rock bottom there is always a way out. And, that no matter how ill you are, you are worthy of help and recovery.”

To read or listen to Wiktoria’s I Do Not Speak visit includem.org/news/news/i-do-not-speak-a-poem-by-wiktoria.

Anyone can contact Samaritans for anonymous and confidential emotional support, day or night, by calling 116 123.