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Home | Exploring Voices | Voices in children and adolescents
Home | Exploring Voices | Voices in children and adolescents

“My first recollection of voice hearing was when I was very young, around 6 years old. I would hear a very soothing maternal voice telling me that everything was alright, ‘they’ would protect me’ and ‘not to be afraid.”

Debra Lampshire

“I heard my first voice as a very young child, perhaps around 4 or 5, I don’t recall. I do remember however the first time I heard him. I was sitting playing alone inside our house and he called my name very loudly. He had a deep voice which almost had an echo to it and it seemed to come from above and around. I didn’t recognise the voice and was immediately curious as to who this strange person was calling my name, and I started to search for him in the house. I searched everywhere, and every time he called my name I would shout back “Yes I am here!” or something to that effect. I didn’t find him, and I became increasingly frustrated and distraught, and in the end, I became very angry at his ability to hide himself so well that he was impossible to find.”

Olga Runciman

“The voices left me really scared and confused. It was only after speaking with mental health professionals that I realised that I was experiencing hearing voices, and that they were not all that uncommon … I’d never heard anyone my age speak about experiencing anything similar.”

Nikki Mattocks

“As a sixteen-year-old, I regularly heard a voice that told me how amazing I was; how I could do anything. It made me hyperactive and I bounced around like I’d eaten a fiver’s worth of sweets and energy drinks. In those moments, when the voices were positive, they filled me with confidence and a euphoria I’ve experienced nowhere else. I liked those voices. The other ones were vindictive and full of hate, and I would push them far into the back of my mind, denying their existence. Everyone has an internal voice, right? That’s true, but the difference was I never knew when the voices would appear, what they were going to say, or if they were going to be cruel or life-affirming.”

Katie Conibear

“I try to make meaning of it, or remember that even though they’re scary they have never hurt me.”

Anonymous

“I heard my first voice as a very young child, perhaps around 4 or 5, I don’t recall. I do remember however the first time I heard him. I was sitting playing alone inside our house and he called my name very loudly. He had a deep voice which almost had an echo to it and it seemed to come from above and around. I didn’t recognise the voice and was immediately curious as to who this strange person was calling my name, and I started to search for him in the house. I searched everywhere, and every time he called my name I would shout back “Yes I am here!” or something to that effect. I didn’t find him, and I became increasingly frustrated and distraught, and in the end, I became very angry at his ability to hide himself so well that he was impossible to find.”

Olga Runciman

“The voices left me really scared and confused. It was only after speaking with mental health professionals that I realised that I was experiencing hearing voices, and that they were not all that uncommon. … I’d never heard anyone my age speak about experiencing anything similar.”

Nikki Mattocks

“As a sixteen-year-old, I regularly heard a voice that told me how amazing I was; how I could do anything. It made me hyperactive and I bounced around like I’d eaten a fiver’s worth of sweets and energy drinks. In those moments, when the voices were positive, they filled me with confidence and a euphoria I’ve experienced nowhere else. I liked those voices. The other ones were vindictive and full of hate, and I would push them far into the back of my mind, denying their existence. Everyone has an internal voice, right? That’s true, but the difference was I never knew when the voices would appear, what they were going to say, or if they were going to be cruel or life-affirming.”

Katie Conibear

“My first recollection of voice hearing was when I was very young, around 6 years old. I would hear a very soothing maternal voice telling me that everything was alright, ‘they’ would protect me’ and ‘not to be afraid.”

Debra Lampshire

“I try to make meaning of it, or remember that even though they’re scary they have never hurt me.”

Anonymous

Hearing voices in childhood or adolescence is quite common and not necessarily a cause for concern. For some young people, voice-hearing is a normal part of everyday life – a source of amusement, company or support. For others, it can be distressing and hard to manage, causing difficulties at school or college, problems with mental health, and disruption to their relationships with family and friends.

In this section, we consider a range of issues related to voice-hearing in children and young people. We include links to personal accounts and the latest academic research, as well as information about where you can find support if you’re a young person struggling to cope with the voices you hear, or the parent or supporter of someone in this situation.

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