As May is mental health awareness month I wished to write at least one post on the subject. I wish I could have wrote more but May is one busy month! A kind of follow on from my mini series of mental health related posts back in January. If you would like to have a read of these posts I will link to them at the end of this post. I wanted to share with you some of the videos that are out there where YouTubers talk about mental health and highlight the important role they are playing in raising awareness of these conditions.
It is only within the last year that I have fully come to understand what an impact Youtube is having on modern day society. I readily admit I always thought it was an online version of You've been Framed, a place to post funny videos, mostly of animals, or home videos (no not that kind!) of people doing awful cover versions of well known songs. Little did I know that Youtube is now a genre of entertainment all to itself, that vlogs are becoming the new reality television and that there are people making YouTube videos as their full time job. From people vlogging their daily lives to beauty and fashion advice. Where were these videos when I was a teen, teaching me how to pluck my eyebrows properly and how to apply eyeliner??
However on a more serious note, YouTube has also become a place for advocacy and awareness. Just the other day I was watching some interviews about new M.E research (not that that is related to mental health of course) and I thought to myself, how great is this? During my YouTube initiation I've come to learn that many of the Youtube big names have mental health conditions such as anxiety. I think the mistaken perception is that given they make a living out of making videos and posting them on the internet that they must be extremely confident and comfortable. Therefore to learn that they suffer with anxiety and panic attacks can come as a shock. Some people sadly might not even believe them. However it's important to realise that no matter how much we think we may know people we only really know what they choose to share. These are real people who choose to share parts of their lives with their audience and although it might be scary to share I think that by sharing the fact they struggle and are open about it is actually just what needs to be happening in order to break down the stigma and isolation of these conditions. As well as let others know that these conditions are common and there should be no shame in admitting that you suffer too.
Starting with the Princess of YouTube Zoella. Below I've shared 3 videos from Zoella on the topic of mental health. It's well known that Zoe suffers from anxiety and panic attacks and has done since her teens. I'm not sure though people understood just how much it affected her until her vlog "Sometimes It All Gets A Bit Too Much" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX92z4Bny50
where she filmed herself during a low time and letting herself be more vulnerable in front of the camera than ever. Before this Zoe had filmed a video about 2 years ago on anxiety and panic attacks "Dealing with Panic Attacks & Anxiety" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-iNOFD27G4 In this video Zoe talks about having suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for 9 years and how it got so bad that she isolated herself, too scared to do things that could cause her to have a panic attack and consequently turning down a lot of opportunities. To the point that she actually just wanted to stay in all the time for fear of having a panic attack. When she sought help from her GP she found them unhelpful, which is sad. Please remember though that if you are seeking help for anxiety or any mental health issue your GP is usually a good first point of call. They see hundreds of patients every week with the same symptoms and will only prescribe medication if it is really needed, there are plenty of other ways they can help. And if you don't feel comfortable with them ask to go to another GP. In light of this Zoe talks about how she helped herself to control her anxiety and start living normally again. Anxiety is an illness that you have to really dig deep and work hard to control and it really is not a case of snapping yourself out of it. Even with the best help in the world, from doctors and even medication, ultimately you are the one that your success depends on. Learning to be stronger than that voice in your head that says "no you can't" or "what if?" More recently she has also filmed "Anxiety Q&A" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjuk3WMZByo in which she answers viewers questions about what anxiety and panic attacks are and what they are like to experience. As well as questions from other sufferers asking for her tips and advice on how to cope. It's a great comprehensive video that sheds a lot of light on the condition. Zoe has recently been named as online ambassador for MIND (a mental health charity) in recognition of all the awareness she has raised and how she has got people talking about mental health.
"What Anxiety is like for me" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty74fmcNUFE
In this video Sam talks about how she deals with anxiety and how she worries it's getting worse. Mentioning some of the situations that trigger her anxiety. She speaks about not being worried about seeking help if you feel your anxiety is becoming worse or having a bigger impact on your life. This video is also informative for non sufferers that may or may not know someone with anxiety as it is also from the perspective of her sister Nic. Discussing how she has found ways to help when she knows Sam is feeling anxious and the signals she picks up on. Having someone with you that really has an idea what you're going throgh can be invaluable. It's not easy for those that don't suffer to really understand however hopefully this video will provide an insight into things you can discuss during calmer times in order to help.
"Working through travel anxiety" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgGMN8f6Hs4
I wanted to include this one because it speaks about the kind of anxiety and nerves that a lot of people will be able to relate to, that of travelling. Let's face it travel of any kind can be stressful but air travel can be all the more so. Whether it's the crowds at the airport, the stress of security, fear of not having control or claustrophobia, air travel can bring about anxiety. In this video Ingrid has cleverly edited the video so that you follow her from leaving her house, through the airport and and onto the plane with a voiceover of all the tips and advice she has for reducing anxiety during each stage, which you can see her use. I think it's a video that could really help anyone that feels stressed when it comes to travelling and inparticular for anyone with anxiety and panic disorder. Just a sidenote if you do suffer from anxiety or panic attacks and need to travel you can request special assistance, requesting that you board the plane separately (first or last depending on the airline) so that you don't put yourself in a situation where a panic attack could manifest, especially if waiting makes you worse. This is also useful for anyone with learning disabilities such as autism. Don't be made to feel like you shouldn't be using the service because you don't have a physical disability, you don't have to declare your condition when you book the assistance. Making sure you are comfortable and as calm as possible is what matters most.
"Draw My Life" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnKVnFlRkAk
Anyone that watches the Sacconejolys vlogs will know that Jonathan or Joffee Jokes as heis also known seems like a great person to hang around with, someone you'd be guaranteed to have a good laugh with. However from a very early age Jonathan suffered from depression and felt very isolated and insular, as a result he was horribly bullied. In this draw my life video he talks about that time and how he had to go to a specialist school for children with emotional needs. He also talks about how he has tried to turn his life around and found ways to keep the depression at bay even though it has been a real struggle at times. I think because of this struggle he is super appreciative of all that he has today and is a real champion for life's underdogs. I wanted to include this video because I thought it included some great lessons on learning to never write yourself off and how deserving of happiness you are.
Sprinkle of Glitter
"Self Harm Your Questions Answered" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22_kotDLxdY
A video breaking down the stereotypes about self harm. Such as the types of people that self harm and why. Sadly we see all too often trends pop up on social media where cutting is used for attention and in a way a horrible bullying tactic. The "cut for Zayn" hashtag inparticular caused much upset, set up to encourage fans to self harm after hearing the news that he had left One Direction and post photos to social media so that he would see how much he had hurt his fans and consequently return to the band. To be honest that is something that I find scary about todays society. Social media has bought about a whole new all encompassing social pressure. But at the heart of this issue was a vindictive plan to guilt trip him. A young man who was already clearly struggling and felt leaving the band was best for his own mental health. This trend showed no sympathy for him or indeed for those that were upset he had left. Those vulnerable enough to not understand the seriousness of cutting could easily have got swept along.
This video explains that self harm is far more than cutting yourself to seek attention as the above trends suggest. Often it can be a cry for help but given that self harm is often covered up and hidden it is far from attention seeking. Louise explains more about the different ways people self harm, that people don't just harm themselves through cutting; who is likely to self harm and why they would do this. Importantly it also gives first aid advice gleaned from the British Red Cross should you ever be in the unfortunate situation of finding someone that had self harmed. As well as what you can do if you want to help someone you know to get better and get help.
Links to Mental Health Charities:
Links to my January Blues posts:
Please remember it's important to talk about what's happening and there are people out there that can help. Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness.