Even though 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year, many don’t know where to reach out for support or how to share what they are going through. This Mental Health Awareness Week, Mind launches a new campaign urging anyone going through a difficult time or struggling with their mental health to reach out to them.
Two new films, featuring spoken word artists and people with lived experience of mental health problems, show the different ways people talk about their experiences. By sharing people’s mental health stories and expressing their thoughts, words, and feelings, Mind hopes to change the way people think and speak about mental health problems. And encourage people to reach out for support, whatever they are going through.
To create each film, a spoken word artist was paired up with a person with experience of a mental health problem. Together, they created a piece of poetry to bring the story to life. One collaboration sees Croydon songwriter and rapper, Jords, tell the story of Rohan who has lived with bipolar disorder for all of his adult life. The second collaboration features Mel who lives with different mental health problems including bulimia, and James Smith, from Leeds rock band, Yard Act
Rohan Kallicharan said “I live with bipolar and was diagnosed when I was 32, by which stage I’d been living with mental illness for close to 15 years. I was angry, my moods swung, I spent recklessly. I would do that and then often go into a depressive episode. I was displaying classic symptoms from a very early stage. To the outside world, it looked like I was behaving irresponsibly and then failing to deal with the consequences. I went from being 18 and having the world at my feet to feeling absolutely worthless, having zero. I tried to end my life on 3 occasions. The first two were a cry for help but that help never came.
“It was only after the third attempt that, through my mum’s employee assistance programme, I was able to access therapy. It was during those sessions that I was signposted to Mind. I went into the office in Manchester and was invited back for a peer group session. It was through them that I finally got back into the medical system and got the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For the first time I could look in the mirror and not be filled with anger and hatred, but with compassion.”
Jords said “My approach to telling Rohan’s story - we had a very long conversation. It was a conversation I needed to have for where I was mentally. It was very good to see someone being very open with their feelings, embracing both sides of things – the good and the bad. It felt like therapy for me. Writing the piece about Rohan, I managed to connect - a lot of the things he feels, or had felt, I’d also felt at some point in my life.”
Jennifer Walters, Associate Director of Communications at Mind, said “If these stories speak to you, speak to us. You might not have the same diagnosis as Rohan or Mel but what they’ve been through might resonate with you. Their stories touch on isolation, loss of control, feelings of judgement – things we can all relate to on some level. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to face these feelings alone. If you're going through a difficult time or are struggling with how you're feeling, Mind is here for you.”
Mind have a confidential Infoline available on 0300 123 3393, Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm, trusted information on our website (mind.org.uk) and our online peer support community Side by Side, available to anyone aged 18 and over with a mental health problem. Our network of local Minds across England and Wales provide different types of support, which may include things like talking therapies, arts therapies, gardening groups and benefits advocacy.
Find out more at mind.org.uk/speaktous