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Confronting your fears

This doesn’t apply to all fears as many of our fears are rational and are there to keep us safe, so exposing yourself to a situation that scares you can be dangerous or harmful.

In some cases, however, we can perceive threats or become fearful of something that, in practice, will not harm us. These are the sorts of fears it might be worth thinking about confronting. This is an activity that will likely take time, and should be carried out slowly and safely, in a supportive and stable environment. For example, if someone felt afraid to be out in a public space, such as a coffee shop, but would rather that their fear didn’t prevent them from enjoying this activity, then they might find that asking a trusted friend or family member to reassure them, talk to them and guide them through the experience slowly in lots of little steps may help their fear to gradually diminish. It’s really important to surround yourself with people you feel safe around and to communicate your intentions to them so they can support you through it. 

You can also find a range of advice and guidance on overcoming your fears in a safe, sensible way from trusted organisations such as the NHS and the Mental Health Foundation.


What young people have told us:

'It helped me overcome situations i did not think I could, I did need help from my mum though.'

'Don't stress yourself out too much if you are finding it difficult. Don't over do it and then become exhausted.'

'Confronting my fears helped my mental wellbeing because before I was feeling trapped and I wasn't able to do the things I loved doing, but confronting my fears helped me step out of my comfort zone and to enjoy myself.'

There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.