"I think there are barriers. Sometimes these are out of our control and sometimes we create our own."
1. What does mental health mean to you?
Mental health to me how I think and feel. This can be really positive, really negative or anywhere in between.
2. What do you do to look after your mental health?
I believe that looking after my mental health is just as important as my physical health. For me, a daily check in on my moods and thoughts to see how I'm doing helps me know if my mental health needs some extra attention that day. I make sure I get outside every day, use team sports as a way to achieve goals and socialise and make sure I give myself little treats as a reminder that I matter too (It's normally cake).
3. Do you/did you ever find it hard to talk about your mental health?
I found it really hard when I was younger, since having my own counselling I've found it a lot easier to do. I realised how normal it is to not feel ok and need help.
4. Do you think there are any barriers to talking about your mental health?
I think there are barriers. Sometimes these are out of our control and sometimes we create our own. I think not understanding exactly what's happening with our mental health sometimes gets in the way of talking about it. A lot of people don't like starting conversations with others that might ask questions we don't have the answer to or are embarrassed about.
5. Are there positive role models in the media for young people who are experiencing troubles with their mental health?
There are a few. Dwayne Johnson has been open publicly about his mental health and one of my favourite quotes from him is "Oh, man, I think one of the defining, seminal moments in my life was when I really realised the power and the value of asking for help", you can find a few of his videos on YouTube. Demi Lovato has been a mental health advocate in the media since around 2015, sharing an honest insight into their struggles and even started a fund to help people receive free support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. What tips would you give young people on talking about their mental health?
Ask for help if you ever think you might need it. Like you'd ask a doctor for help if you were ill, or a friend or teacher if you had a piece of work you don't understand, give your mental health the same opportunity for help. Also, it's really normal to not fully understand what's happening, why it's happening or even how to help yourself, you don't need to have these answers before you talk to someone.