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Interview Tackling Mental Health as a Whole: A Q&A with Jordan Stephens

Tackling Mental Health as a Whole: A Q&A with Jordan Stephens

Hello! I’m Holly, I’m from Manchester and I have recently joined Speakers Corner as a Copywriter. I hold a degree in English Literature from Oxford, and this is my first step in the real world. I moved to London with no job and a single month’s rent, in hope of finding a writing job and to be at the heart of the UK’s literary culture.

Jordan Stephens is a writer and performer best known for being one half of pop duo Rizzle Kicks. His mental health campaign #IAMWHOLE reached over 120 million people online. As a speaker, Jordan talks about mental health and negative effects of Toxic Masculinity.

He caught up with us to chat mental health, his campaign and the philosophy he lives by.

Most people will know you as the ‘one-half of Rizzlekicks. Are you still making music?

Yes. Since Rizzlekicks I’ve made music with another band called Wildhood. It was actually from that album that I made a song called ‘Whole’, which is how my mental health campaign started. It was all from that song. Since then, I’ve made loads more music! But it hasn’t yet seen the light of day…

You have recently been very open to talking about mental health issues. Were you motivated by the stigma around mental health?

Not so much the stigma. I’m a very honest person, and I think I didn’t really know what else to do other than share how I felt. In terms of the stigma, I think if you are going through something it is important to try and share it. Especially if you’re creative. 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.

Could you tell us a little bit about the #IAMWHOLE campaign?

Absolutely! It’s a mental health campaign designed to encourage people to speak openly and honestly about how they feel, without any fear of being seen as weird or weak. It is a campaign that wants to really highlight the fact that you are never the only person going through a lot of trouble, you are part of a community of incredibly brave people who are finding interesting, imaginative, wonderful and practical ways of managing their struggles. To be able to click on the hashtag #IAMWHOLE and see that there are other people going through similar stuff to you is just a great thing to be able to do.

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Is the campaign aimed more at men and masculinity?

Not really, no. It is open to everyone. It was originally aimed at young people, trying to help teenagers figure themselves out or just feel more supported. But the campaign can affect everyone. Mental health itself doesn’t discriminate – it doesn’t have a particular type of person that it aims for. The campaign has reached a lot further than we could ever have imagined. We are doing concerts called ‘Music for Mental Health’ – we did the first one at the Roundhouse last year and Ed Sheeran headlined – and that was amazing. All from a song I wrote about being depressed!

If people could take home one message from you, what would it be?

Keep being weird! I think weird is so great. Any opportunity you have to do something that isn’t usual, just go for it.

And finally, what’s next for you Jordan?

I’ve been doing more writing. I want to be able to write something coherent about my relationship with love.

We loved chatting to you Jordan, and can't wait to hear the new material you're working on!

For further information or to book one of our speakers, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk.

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