Mind’s newest Ambassador Anne-Marie joined 22-year-old local Mind service user Aashni, from Manchester, via video call to share their experiences of being diagnosed with anxiety at a young age. Anne-Marie said: “[my mental health] got so bad when I was in my late teens that I almost have memory loss from those years because my anxiety was so high. I have a whole patch of my life that I don’t remember.”
When asked about what first inspired her to open up about her experiences, Anne-Marie said that seeing people talking about mental health online had helped her: “That’s what makes me want to keep fighting for everything online […] because I never would have actually come to grips with my mental health if it wasn’t for seeing people talking about it. I try and speak about it every day, whether it’s in a song or to my friend or anywhere. I try and speak about my mental health every day.”
In research conducted during the pandemic, Mind found that one in three adults and one in four young people did not try to access support for their mental health during lockdown because they did not think that their problem was serious enough.
Anne-Marie encourages anyone experiencing a mental health problem to talk about it, saying she couldn’t believe: “how much it helps as soon as you open your mouth”.
The interview was filmed as part of Anne-Marie’s ongoing work with Mind to highlight the services the charity has been offering during the pandemic to support people experiencing mental health problems. Aashni spoke to Anne-Marie about her experience of using peer support, where people use their own experiences to help each other, having used both an in-person group, facilitated by Manchester Mind, and Mind’s online peer support network, Elefriends, during the pandemic.
Anne-Marie was announced as a Mind Ambassador in March 2020, and discussed her feelings about the role in the film too, saying: “I feel really lucky to be an Ambassador of Mind. I have been on a massive journey with my own mental health in the past two to three years. So just to be part of something that helps other people for that is just so special to me.”