A mum-of-two has opened up about her experience with mental health and bullying as a teenager to help others going through similar trauma.
Jill Salt has spoken out about her ordeal of being physically and mentally beaten up as she embarks on a fund-raising campaign for her local community centre today (June 6).
The Labour councillor for Biddulph East is aiming to raise £500 for Biddulph Youth and Community Zone to fund work aimed at improving mental health and well-being.
The 38-year-old revealed she was ‘battered, beaten and bullied’ by other schoolgirls from the age of 10, up until leaving high school.
She said: “I’ve never been mentally well since I was a teen. In the late 80s bullying and mental health wasn’t really recognised.
“When I was at middle school getting bullied, teachers thought it was six of one and half a dozen of the other. It only really stopped when one high school teacher recognised what was going on and took me seriously.
“I would get battered. Absolutely battered. I was beaten up on several occasions and reported it each time to the police.”
Jill forgives the girls that made her adolescence ‘hell’, but the memories of the attacks have always stuck in her mind.
She said: “One evening I had been to Air Cadets and they were waiting outside for me afterwards. I went to wait in my dad’s car as he was locking up. I climbed into the car and locked the doors, but I’d forgotten about the sunroof.
“One girl climbed onto the bonnet and grabbed my hair through the sunroof and punched me in the face. It was awful, but it was just one of many incidents.”
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At the age of 21, Jill tragically lost four people very close to her, and feels she was unable to grieve and process the events.
She said: “I lost my dad, grandad, nannie and my friend’s mum all in the space of 12 months. I didn’t have time to grieve for one before another passed away.
“Then I had the kids and had a spot of postnatal depression. Everything was just building up without me realising.”
Jill started to attend counselling to help her find the root cause of her anxiety, and though she hated it at first, has been able to recognise where her feelings come from.
She said: “A lot of how I feel stems back to the bullying I faced as a teenager.
“I hated counselling at first as I was out of my comfort zone but eventually you backtrack and a switch clicked.
“I had an awakening and realised I always suffered with anxiety upon leaving the house because I had never been safe from bullying except from in my own home. I wasn’t even safe in my dad’s car.
“Even after going on holiday or a day trip, I would be relieved to be home. But now that I can recognise these issues, I feel a lot better and I’m in a good place. Exercise has been helping and it’s been great to fit it in during lockdown without it being a chore.”
Jill will be rowing a marathon on her indoor rowing machine, after being inspired by her personal trainer Beth Eardley who cycled 2,500 miles to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society.
She said: “I felt like a bit of a spare part when we went into lockdown. I have had a rowing machine for 18 months but never got my money’s worth out of it.
“I rowed 10,000 metres and didn’t die, so next time I went for 20,000. I built it up to a half marathon and wanted to try and do a full one whilst raising money at the same time.
“Biddulph Youth and Community Zone has done so much to help the community in lockdown, so I thought it would be nice to give something back.”
To find out more about Jill’s fundraiser for Biddulph Youth and Community Zone, click here.