Last week Joanna announced that she wanted to write to the Royal Family about her mental health and the ongoing wait for support services to make a tangible difference to her daily life. So on Sunday we sat down in Starbucks and – based on her rather concise initial outline – wrote a letter together.
Your Royal Highnesses
My name is Joanna and I am 9 years old. I was adopted when I was 4 because my first mum and dad couldn’t look after me and did lots of fighting. That was very scary for me and I still have some memories that make it hard for me to concentrate at school.
I sometimes get into trouble because I get angry when I find things too challenging. Things that I find difficult are changes which might be small but are a big deal for me, like when the school changes the time of our playtime, or when there are loud noises that remind me of arguments. This can make me very angry and then I get excluded from school for a few days. This makes me very sad because I like school and learning. When I am older I would like to go to university and then be a teacher and writer.
When I’m asleep I sometimes have nightmares about when I was with my birth family and there was violence. These memories can sometimes affect my day a lot. I need lots of help to cope at school but sometimes the help doesn’t happen. My mum and dad and headteacher have had lots of meetings with our special needs department but they are very slow to help me too. My 1:1 helper has changed four times in the last year which I have found really tricky.
My mum and dad have worked really hard to get me some help. I have been waiting for a long time for CAMHS to help me with some therapy but they have a long waiting list. So far I have been waiting for a year and a half which is a very long time when you are my age.
I know that you care a lot about children with mental health problems and I wonder if you can help me. I think children like me who had difficult beginnings should be able to have what they need really quickly so we can make our lives better. I would like it if Heads Together would help us, please.
Thank you for reading my letter. I hope you can write back.
PS I really like Meghan Markle too because she is a feminist and so am I.
I hope she gets a reply – it would be great for her confidence to think that she was being taken seriously by someone with the power to make something happen for her. If she does, I’ll share it here.
Update 19/3/18: you can now read the reply from Kensington Palace here.