Gok Wan says ‘never let anyone tell you you’re not good enough’ to young people at Kent & Medway Adolescent Hospital
Gok Wan visited Rosewood School at the Kent & Medway Adolescent hospital to talk to young people receiving mental health support.
The young people had a candid conversation with the presenter about the challenges he faced growing up, how he overcame them and what keeps him motivated.
“Growing up British-Chinese and coming out while struggling with body image in a council estate in Leicester in the ‘70s and ‘80s was difficult, despite how happy our family was.”
On battling mental health difficulties and an eating disorder he said that
“it can still be hard but realising that my body is just a vehicle for the rest of me ─ my values, my morals and my mind ─ has helped. My self-worth is not defined by how I look.”
When quizzed by the young people about advice to his 16-year-old self, he said:
“Never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough. You are unique, and your uniqueness is your superpower.”
He added that he would tell his younger self to:
“Stop worrying about everything, it's not worth the energy.”
The conversation moved on to fashion advice and the stylist, who has received an MBE for services to fashion and social awareness, said:
“There is no right or wrong, it’s all about body confidence and feeling comfortable in your own skin.”
The prolific DJ said that listening to music and playing the tunes he loves for others, “helps with feelings of anxiety and stress” and spoke about mixing music with budding music producers amongst the pupils.
The Kent & Medway Adolescent hospital is run by the North East London NHS Foundation Trust and provides inpatient mental health support and care for up to 14 children and young people. Education is offered at the hospital by the Rosewood school so that young people can continue learning and return to school on discharge from hospital.
Gill Burns, Director of Children's services at North East London NHS Foundation Trust, thanked the presenter for supporting the young people. She said:
“We’re very grateful to Gok for sharing his experience with mental health difficulties with such honesty. Talking openly about these issues can make a huge difference and helps tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness.”
Assistant Head Teacher Roopa Sharma, who oversees the Rosewood hospital school, said:
“It’s important for our young people to be inspired, and for us to do our best to show them that, with the right support, they can achieve anything. We are very grateful for the support, it’s certainly a day that will stay with our pupils, and all our staff across the hospital and our school.”