An author whose mental health was severely impacted by years of bullying has written a book to help other young people in the same situation.

Charlotte McLeod, who lives near Kendal, recently published her debut novel Hate, the first of three books based on her experiences of depression, anxiety and eating disorders, in the hope that it will encourage young people to seek help and talk more about their mental health.

“I was bullied since I started school,” said the 22-year-old.

“Over the years it took a toll on my mental health and writing always provided me with an escape.

“I would write to become someone else for a while so I didn’t have to think about what was going on.

“When I was 15 I started writing a short novel all about my experiences and I created two characters that have the two different thought processes I had during the time.

“In real life I didn’t feel like I had anyone to talk to, so I created this character and almost put my own emotions into this fictional person.

“The book is about having someone to talk to so you don’t feel alone.

“I think it’s important to raise awareness and be open to talking about mental health.

“Young people get told, “oh you’re so young what have you got to be worried about?”

“People’s experiences are so individual that you can’t really judge.”

Hate follows the story of teenagers Luke and Poppy who are suffering from depression.

Poppy becomes intrigued by Luke's decision to hate everything in life and even though they just met she is determined to help him find something that he likes about living.

Together, they discuss their struggles in the hope to find some common ground.

After losing a close friend last year Charlotte was further compelled to raise awareness and help others.

“It’s very common for people to suffer from poor mental health and it’s not spoken about enough,” she said.

“I lost an old friend to mental health last year.

“And I can’t help but think what if he had someone to talk to? What if he felt ok to speak about that?

“It’s really given me that drive to push this work and keep raising awareness so that no one else has to lose anybody.”

Charlotte self-published Hate on Amazon in April and the other two books in the series will be released later this year.