A STUDENT from Preston Lodge High School is raising funds and awareness for mental health after experiencing struggles first-hand.

Ryan Lang, of Rowan Hill Drive, Port Seton is shaving his head to raise money for Mental Health UK.

The 16-year-old told the Courier: “I struggled with mental health issues myself for about a year, and it was really difficult.

“It was hard to know who to talk to and where to go.”

Ryan eventually got support from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) in Musselburgh.

He said: “Eventually they got in touch with the school, and from that point they were really good.

“I get a separate room now for exams and things, and a separate computer too to help me deal with the anxiety and stress.

“School can be a really difficult time for young people, but there’s not a lot taught about mental health. It would be great to raise awareness.”

Ryan has been growing his hair especially, ahead of having it shaved off by his sister-in-law on April 25.

More than £400 of his £500 target has already been raised and, despite being initially nervous about opening up about his struggle with mental health, Ryan is excited about the positive response.

“I just want people to know that it’s OK not to be OK,” he said.

“I was a bit worried at first that people would be coming up to me and asking personal questions about me, but they haven’t at all. Some people ask my advice, others are just supportive about me putting myself out there.

“It is OK to talk about it and open up about it, you should never feel alone.”

Ryan’s mum Ruth added: “We’re very proud of Ryan.

“It would be good to see a change in the system to help kids when they’re at school and struggling.

“The waiting list for CAMHS was so long and getting an appointment quickly was impossible.

“It would be great to see more people aware and know how important it is.”

To donate to Ryan’s fundraiser, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/raisingformentalhealthryanlang