Campaigning

Last week, I launched Openly Depressed. (Please do read the latest post by Lisa, by the way).

My expectations were that this would take off and become huge and that the money I had spent on badges and flyers wouldn't bother me in the slightest because a movement had begun!

But those were just my expectations. Not reality.

The truth is that the response was lukewarm. A lot of the people who had offered to help me couldn't (which is understandable, as most of them suffer with mental illness and thus have bad days). And to top things off, I had some bad news about someone in my immediate family which really upset me.

One of the worst problems when doing campaigning was that people reacted badly. Don't get me wrong - some people took badges and flyers and were lovely! But here's a list of genuine responses my helpers were met with when flyering:

"I'm alright thanks, my mental health is good."
"Not interested; I don't think it's an issue."
"This is just another thing for people to moan about."
"Go away."

Between this and Miley Cyrus' disgusting attack on Sinead O'Connor last week, I started to wonder why I was bothering.

I think people fail to realise an absolutely essential fact about Openly Depressed:

THIS CAMPAIGN CAN PREVENT SUICIDES

I'm not being self aggrandising. I'm not saying I personally could save people's lives. I'm saying you could. You, by supporting openness and honestly about mental health could stop people killing themselves. How? Well, if more people talked about their mental health, more people would get help when they needed it. I'll reiterate this fact a million times if I have to:

80% of people with mental health problems don't seek medical help
BECAUSE OF SHAME AND STIGMA.

I appreciate the views Openly Depressed got last week. I really do. But barely anyone shared it. And don't get me wrong, I understand why after reading someone's account you wouldn't want to share the blog, and I understand the anxiety you may feel about people jumping to conclusions. But don't you see that you could help save lives?

The reality is that we have a fight on our hands now. And I'm prepared. Mental health is not going away, and neither are we. I am just one member of a growing legion of people who refuse to sit idly by and do nothing to help a marginalised, ridiculed and unwell section of society.

Comments

  1. It's okay Charlie! 7 days is not very long to turn around such an ingrained perception. It will grow over time if we all stick with it, and there are probably going to be several more opportunities throughout the year to have a leaflet & badge stand somewhere on campus, not to mention a whole load of freshers as new audience for your blog and Openly Depressed :)
    I'll be the first to admit that I haven't shared any of the recent posts. Not because I disagree with the campaign or am ashamed to post it. But as only one person, who posts these kinds of things quite often, I worry people will just skim over me in the news feed with a sort of 'oh, there she goes again'. Perhaps it would be more effective to set a date when everyone following OD will message their facebook friends with a request to share the latest post. Then a second set date for all those who agree to do so, to flood facebook as one; maximizing the impact.
    It might be really cool to try and organize some talks at Warwick too, or something like that; could draw more people in via a different route (am happy to look into this if you would like, just let me know!).
    It will be okay, and you are doing a brilliant job :)

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    Replies
    1. That's quite a good idea actually! Hmmm, a date to share posts. I think I might try that :D

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  2. I really do agree with Ells above! Those responses you got genuinely angered me.... I thought that as Warwickians people would be a bit more intelligent! Keep working at it, you are so brave to be doing this, and definitely braver than me! xx

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  3. It's a sensitive issue, so don't worry. You're just at the beginning. I'm sure there are many people who really appreciate that you've started this campaign, but are too afraid/unsure/... to share it. As you said, there is still a big stigma attached to mental health issues, so just keep up your good work and let the campaign sprout. Just look at this as something, that has to grow over the years. It has so much potential!

    All the best! Xx

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  4. Charlie, as somebody who volunteered both at the student support service Warwick Nightline and Coventry Samaritans during my time at Warwick University, I would very much like to write something for Openly Depressed from the point of view of someone who's supported people with mental health issues in this way, explaining what the services are and how we will respond to those in crisis. If you're interested, please do let me know. All the best.

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    Replies
    1. I'd LOVE to have someone post from that perspective Liz. do e-mail me at diaryofadepressedstudent@gmail.com

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  5. The lovely lady above me shared this on her Facebook page. I've just finished my placement at Warwick uni and started suffering from depression whilst I was there. I am back at my own uni now and feeling a lot better, but if there is anything I can do to help promote your initiative, please let me know.
    I run a food blog and am pretty good with bloggy things and promotion if you need any help (although i'm guessing you probably don't), but let me know if you think of anything. Well done for starting this! It's an amazing and brave thing to do!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind offer :) I'm always willing to accept help/advice!

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  6. Is it really that hard for you to understand that just because this is a massively important issue to you it is not all that important to most everyone else? Lots of things people could do would prevent deaths, from clean water supplies in the 3rd world to arranging more visits to the elderly to make sure they haven't tripped and fallen. Most nobody gives a fuck about those either.

    I have suffered from depression personally, to the extend I've been prescribed Lithium, and even I realise that in the grand scheme of things it's just not that big a deal to the world. Get out of your schoolboy mentality and realise this is a harsh world and nobody really gives two shits about you and your problems and you'll be happier for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to assume you're the same person who's been leaving cruel, offensive messages over the past few weeks. If you're not, apologies.

      Either way, your input is neither constructive nor wanted. You will not stop this blog continuing nor will you, one remorselessly negative, rude and cruel mind, force me to belittle the struggle of people with mental illness.

      If what I write elicits just a disproportionate, ignorant, foul-mouthed and offensive response, I have a simple solution: stop reading this blog. If you continue to comment in future and continue to be unnecessarily offensive, I shall simple delete your comments.

      Delete

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