“When people started talking to me, I got panic attacks, fears,” Joy tells RTL Nieuws. “I was also very modest, shy, not very communicative and I had a lot of trouble expressing my thoughts and expressing myself. I still have it now and then, but much less than before.”
Joy herself thinks that the problems arose after her parents’ divorce. She was six when her mother left the house; she had no contact until she was twelve. As a result, Joy lived alone with her father, and because he worked, she had to go to after-school care every day. It was difficult for her to settle there. Joy: “I thought it was hell.”
At sixteen, Joy began to notice that she might have a problem that she needed to do something about. But then what? And how? When she was 19, Joy’s ex-girlfriend said she should visit Quardin – a youth center in Rotterdam.
Music helped Joy on top
“I am very grateful to her for pushing me to go there,” Joy now says about that time. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have been the person I am today.”
At Quardin Joy started working with music, together with young people who were also in trouble with themselves. “Young people are having a hard time at home because their parents have little income, young people who want to change their gender, young people who have a parental task at home at an early age. In fact, everything.”
‘Quardin is the example we have in mind’
To better tackle the psychological problems of young people, the MIND Us foundation will start today, for young people between the ages of 12 and 27. The intention: “To help existing initiatives further.” In other words, initiatives such as Quardin.
“We do not want all young people to need mental health care in the future. That is neither feasible nor desirable,” says Marielle van den Berg, spokesperson for MIND. “We focus on prevention and people with starting complaints.”
Because now the picture is still often that the programs and training courses are not satisfactory, says Van den Berg. “As a result, they do not follow the training sessions and the complaints only get worse. Then the complaints are so great that you have to go to the GGZ.”
Schools also have a task, it must be easier to refer a young person. “If someone is lonely, a teacher or dean should refer sooner. Mind Us must ensure that as many young people as possible are reached to publicize initiatives such as Quardin. Because Quardin is the example we have in mind.”
Talking to like-minded people
Joy started at Quardin with the so-called ‘music academy’. She learned to get around people, to share her opinion, and even to perform and be in front of a camera. “Music has always been an outlet for me. That helped.”
Máxima launches foundation and becomes honorary president
Queen Máxima today launches the MIND Us foundation. The foundation is committed to the mental health of young people between the ages of 12 and 27. Máxima becomes honorary president of the foundation.
The foundation is part of MIND, an independent social organization that promotes a psychologically healthier Netherlands and gives a voice to all people with (starting) psychological complaints and their loved ones.
MIND is also part of MIND Young, a platform for young people that also initiates projects and campaigns such as #Openup and TIME OUT.
But it’s not just making music. There is also talk. “In a group, with people who are going through the same thing.”
Joy actively tackled her problems, will soon even start her own course and she is now guiding a 16-year-old boy. “But there are also plenty of young people who don’t. Or who may not even know they have a problem.”
How do you know that you might need help?
According to Joy, that can also be small things. “I sometimes notice that I am in bed for a long time with the slats closed. Or that I don’t eat. Then I really need a push again.”
‘We all know what happens when the bucket overflows’
She sometimes gets that push from her father, but also often from friends she knows from Quardin. Sara is her friend where she can always go. “If less good things have happened, we’ll talk about it.”
And that talking helps. Joy calls on other young people with problems to do the same. “Not shooting is always wrong. It’s good to talk. If you don’t, the bucket will overflow. And we all know what happens.”