It’s Time to Talk: 8 Trending Mental Health Advocates You Need to Hear
Having dealt with my own struggles and those of my family, the conversation around mental health is something I hold close to my heart. One of the best things I ever did, was speak out about my struggles, and use this strength to encourage those close to me to do the same.
Speaking up can not only raise awareness and quash stigma, but has the power to motivate, inspire and show others that they are not alone in this fight.
We are fortunate enough today that businesses are acknowledging the importance of starting this dialogue with their employees. With some highly emotive and inspirational stories from sufferers of mental health in our little book of contacts, I decided that we should expand the conversation a little further.
You never know if listening to one of these inspiring individuals will help save a life.
Rebuilding her life after surviving a brutal sulphuric acid attack in 2008, Katie Piper in an incredibly strong and inspirational woman. In her early twenties, she embarked on a successful modelling and TV career when an ex-boyfriend threw acid at her destroying all the skin on her face, neck and hands. After 2 years of anonymity, Katie spoke out about her attack in a moving documentary ‘My Beautiful Face’. Receiving an overwhelming amount of support, Katie went on to create a four-part series, one of them showing how she regained sight in her left eye, and wrote a best-selling book, Beautiful.
“TV, Magazines etc can make us feel like we are constantly surrounded by beautiful people we can’t compete with but you must put this into perspective and know that it's not even that person’s reality - most of these images are from professional shoots, using teams of hair, make up , styling etc and all polished off with photoshop.”
Read Katie Piper's Interview Here
Neil Laybourn & Jonny Benjamin
Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin’s story began on the edge of Waterloo Bridge in London when Neil talked Jonny out of taking his own life after being diagnosed with depression and schizophrenia. Jonny was then taken away to be sectioned, and 6 years later he launched a campaign to find and thank Neil. After the global success of the campaign, the pair met over an emotional meeting, and began the journey uniting to share their story and highlight the struggles of mental health and suicide. Their journey was made into the TV documentary The Stranger on the Bridge, which became an international success. It even led them to meet Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, who invited them to represent the Heads Together charity.
Author and journalist, Bryony Gordon, is one of The Telegraph’s most-loved columnists, a bestselling author, and an advocate for mental health issues, having always been open about depression and anxiety. A figurehead for today’s mental health movement, Bryony’s ventures include starting a podcast called Mad World, where her first episode featured Prince Harry opening up about his mental health struggles. Breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health, Bryony is standing up and sharing her story in the hope that others will do the same.
“Mental illness has power over you as long as you don’t tell anybody about it. It lies to you: it tells you that you’re a freak; it tells you that you’re alone; it tells you that no one is going to understand what you’re going through – and that’s a lie.”
Read Bryony Gordon's Interview Here : Mental Illness Only Has Power If You Don't Talk About It
Writer, actor, comedian, broadcaster, director, librettist and compere (the list goes on!), Stephen Fry, has intelligent witticisms and brilliant presenting skills which have cemented him as a much-loved household name. Speaking out about his long battle with depression and bipolar disorder, he aims to reframe the narrative and give a clear picture of the side of mental health that many people are unaware of. Creating the BBC2 documentary The Secret Life on the Manic Depressive, he consults fellow sufferers, Tony Slattery and the late Carrie Fisher, in a triumph against stigma.
A former professional footballer and Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, Clarke Carlisle is also an ambassador for the mental health charity Mind. After suffering from mental health issues including depression, Clarke speaks openly about his battle, including attempting to take his life on two occasions. Sharing his story with eloquence and honesty, Clarke is working to break down the stigma around these issues.
“It is absolutely vital that we open up and talk about mental health. One of the worst things you can do when you lock up these thoughts and listen to the inner voice is that you allow yourself to be lied to. That voice tells us that you are on your own, and that’s not the truth.”
Read Clarke Carlisle's Interview Here: It Is Absolutely Vital That We Talk About Mental Health
Before embarking on his mission to deconstruct the negative effects of Toxic Masculinity, Jordan Stephens was best known as one-half of the pop duo, Rizzle Kicks. Now publicly open about his struggles with mental health, Jordan has created the mental health campaign #IAMWHOLE, which has already reached over 120 million people. Designed to help others speak openly and honestly about their feelings through the #, the campaign aims to highlight the fact that no one is ever alone.
“The stigma side of it was something I could see was becoming a problem for a lot of other people, so I became more passionate about sharing my story, as I wanted other people to feel safe enough to do the same.”
Read Jordan Stephen's Interview Here: Tackling Mental Health As A Whole
Head of special projects at The Guardian, Mark Rice-Oxley leads a team of investigative journalists, but is also a provoking speaker on mental health. Drawing parallels with his own experiences, Mark’s first book, Underneath the Lemon Tree, is an insightful memoir about his battle with depression. Retracing the months of utmost despair, Mark captures the nature of this illness with brave clarity. He hopes that more men will recognise periods where things just don’t ‘feel right’, and realise that there is no weakness in seeking help. By telling his story, Mark strives to enable others to tell theirs.
After nearly committing suicide in 2016, Hayley Mulenda realised the urgency of mental health issues amongst young and BAME people. Now a mental health advocate, Hayley uses her personal experiences and works with a diverse range of organisations to support young people. She believes in turning pain into purpose and is committed to sustaining a healthy mental wellbeing.
“One way we can open the conversation up around mental health is understanding that there is power in vulnerability. Not many people see the power in sharing their weaknesses, trials and tribulations but if there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s feelings. Everyone can relate with emotions, everyone can relate to having a stressful moment, or experiencing sadness. I think creating a space where people can be vulnerable and share their experiences is actually healthy.”
Read Hayley Mulenda's Interview Here: An Interview With Mental Health Advocate Hayley Mulenda
I have to admit, I found it both difficult and incredibly moving reading these stories, and know how amplified it is hearing them actually speak! In an area that has long been wrapped in stigma, these incredible speakers are standing up, showing their vulnerability and speaking out in the hope that someone else will feel empowered to share their story, seek help or start an open dialogue for others to share their struggles.
For further information or to book one of our speakers, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070+44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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