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To Sam

Cleft Palate

Hi, My names K*. I was born with a cleft palate and had surgery a couple of months after i was born,I think (I dont remember) My mum refuses to let me have surgery again, every letter we get she says we cant go and the one time we do go she yells at my specialist surgeon thingy and we get sent home.  Im really self-confident, especially at school : I hide my face whenever possible, i never put my hand up for an answer because my speach is, well not understandable. People say i speak really quietly but i thought i spoke quite loud.  I get picked on for what my face looks like (My mouth is pulled down a bit at the corners and my teeth are very crooked) I have zero friends i can talk to. I do have one i can hang out with but (Im not being mean) She quite obnoxious, always interupting me and when i tried to tell her that i tried to kill myself she completly blanked me.  (When i tried to kill myself nothing happend, even though i took 32 paracetamol)  I've thought about running away but, where am i meant to go? My sister didn't like school so, naturally she didn't have to go. I mean it, she doesn't go to school. My mum claims to social services that shes being home schooled but she definatly isnt.  I hate walking to school, i hate going to it, i get so confused in lessons so my grades are slowly but surely going down. My mum hates me. What should i do???
Ask Sam


Hi K*,

Thank you for your letter, I am so glad you have got in contact for some support. It’s brave of you to share what things are like for you at the moment and I can imagine this letter took you a lot of courage to write.

You’ve explained a bit about being born with a cleft palate and this sounds like something that has impacted on your whole life, and is something that you are always aware of. 

From what you have said, it sounds like you are really self-conscious, especially at school and it seems like it stops you from feeling comfortable about yourself in many situations. You’ve told me you hide your face wherever possible and you never put your hand up for an answer. I get the impression that things have felt so difficult for you and that this is something you have struggled to cope with.

No one ever has the right to pick on anyone for any reason at all. What you have described is a form of bullying and it is not right. Bullying is a very serious matter and I want you to know that you do not deserve to be treated this way.

You might want to take a look at the Bullying page on the ChildLine website, as it talks more about what you can do to try to stop this from happening.

I know you’ve mentioned having zero friends you can talk to and I imagine that makes things even harder as the feelings you are carrying around sound very heavy.
It’s really important for you not to try and cope with everything on your own.  No one should ever feel that they have to deal with things alone; it may feel that way sometimes but there is always someone who can listen and help.
No matter what you are going through, there is support available.

I am extremely worried to hear that you have tried killing yourself by taking 32 paracetamol. You’ve said that nothing happened, but it’s important to be aware that any potential damage that can be done by taking that amount of tablets is not always obvious. I would urge you to get immediate medical help. This could mean talking to someone like your doctor, or calling the NHS on 111 for some advice. You could also have a look at NHS Choices for more medical information.

If you are ever having suicidal thoughts and feel you cannot keep yourself safe, then it’s important that you let someone know, so that they can support you. You can always contact 999 for the emergency services, or talk to a ChildLine Counsellor by calling 0800 1111 (this number is free from any phone).

That also includes if you were ever feeling like you were planning to run away from home. There are ChildLine counsellors here throughout the day and night so you could contact for support at anytime.

I know you’ve mentioned some other really important things such as your mum refusing to let you have surgery again. I wonder how you actually feel about this, as I imagine it might feel like the decision is out of your control and that perhaps your own feelings are not being heard. It’s also worrying to hear that your sister is not going to school and is not being home schooled as this would be against the law, as every child has to go to school.

There is so much that is going on for you and it must be horrible to feel like your mum hates you and to not feel like you have her support. I think you sound like such a strong person and want you to know that you really do not deserve to have to go through all of this.

How you feel is important and I hope you do contact a ChildLine counsellor directly to talk some more. You can get in contact by calling 0800 1111, have a 1-2-1 online chat or by email.

Thanks again for your letter.

Take care,


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