A new web-based campaign is to be launched in Oxford, encouraging the public to post videos discussing their experiences with mental health issues.
Oxford based organisation ‘Mind Your Head’ are launching the website on 28th January, under the name ‘It Gets Brighter’.
The campaign is spearheaded by Oxford graduate students Josh Chauvin, Chair of the organisation, and Emma Lawrence, Campaign Manager.
Lawrence, a DPhil student at University College, noted her motivations for the campaign, saying: “Young people often feel that they are by themselves in encountering mental health issues. That can lead to a perceived stigma of such experiences, and prevent them from accessing support. We hope our videos will help them recognise they are in fact not alone and encourage them to seek appropriate support.”
Chauvin spoke of his desire to create a “culture of openness” around mental health.
He commented: “We welcome anyone and everyone who wants to submit a video. You don’t have to have a personal experience of mental illness to support those among us that do. Telling others that you’re there to listen can be just as strong of a message. We need to have a culture of openness about mental health.”
‘Mind Your Head’ has received support from several prominent figures. These include Stephen Fry, who spoke of his support for the charity, and in particular his concerns over the levels of self-harm amongst young people, at an oversubscribed Oxford Union event in Michaelmas. Others who have provided videos include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, whose daughter has suffered from depression.
The campaign’s website, “Thunderclap”, claims to have reached in excess of 160,000 people.
This initiative has been welcomed by many. Merton first-year Roísín McCallion, who runs a popular blog about mental health issues, said: “At times dealing with judgement from others due to the stigma attached to suffering from a mental illness can be as difficult as dealing with the illness itself. I strongly believe that a key part of the solution to overcoming this stigmatisation is speaking out – through making people aware of the truth about what mental illness really is through the sharing of our own experiences. The ‘It Gets Brighter’ campaign provides people with a platform to do just that and I am incredibly hopeful it will have a highly beneficial impact upon the situation.”