In the second part of our short series about mental health, the Reason team and I discussed memories. When did we first experience symptoms of a mental health issue creeping into our lives? How did we cope in a time when it was unconventional to acknowledge and diagnose these behaviours?
Starting this conversation
At the end of last year, with very little notice, I made a big ask of the team here at Reason. Talk to me, on film about your mental health experiences. No big deal right?
To my surprise and delight, several people came forward so we started ‘setting up’. I scribbled down some questions and with Tom, our resident videographer, in charge of filming, we were ready. Sat in a work environment, I was definitely a little apprehensive about what I was about to hear. Will people get upset? How should I react? Plus, as the person asking others to do this, I had to step up and share my own story – something I usually kept safe and secure in circles of close friends and family only.
I didn’t need to be nervous. As you may have seen in part one, the output of this exercise was an extraordinary, honest and often comical glimpse into the lives of everyday people who have struggled with mental health.
A wealth of real stories
Each person spoke for around five minutes, however trying to extract a concise and digestible video for others to watch on the go, was challenging. The honesty and charm that these videos captured meant we had a wealth of stories around mental health that we needed to share, hence the creation of this series.
This is our second short film highlighting some of the earlier memories we associate with our mental health struggles. Some of us were young children, some were fully grown adults but our recollections are vivid and clearly ingrained in our memories where I imagine they’ll remain. I also ask the group why they wanted to share their story revealing the desire to communicate and help others spot possible signs of a mental health issue.
As some of our team mention in this video, the workplace still puts up barriers when it comes to being honest about mental health. This is a challenge we cannot solve quickly. It requires a change in culture and attitudes which takes time. But, we hope that our video could inspire other workplaces to start this conversation in a safe and inviting way because truly, the impact these last-minute, roughly edited films are still having on our team and our culture is invaluable.
Thanks again to Annie, Rachael, Christian, David, Jo, Jess and Lee for being brave, honest and making me smile throughout this.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, there are a number of places you can go for help and support. Mind, The Samaritans, Calm or your GP are just a couple of the places you could start.