By Tom Mills
Back in 2016 I was really struggling with my mental health, specifically depression. I had times where I wanted to end it all. I would think to myself ‘what was the point in life anymore?’. I was bullied a lot in the place I was working at the time, which had a massive impact on my mental health. It was at this point where I thought I need to do something.
I went to see my GP and he prescribed me to go on anti-depressants and to see a counsellor to help me. Plucking up the courage to see my GP and explain how I was feeling wasn’t easy but I did it and it felt good to open up and explain what was happening to me. I have been on anti-depressants now for 5 years and they do help me with the way I feel at times.
During this time when I was struggling, I saw not only myself but other people around me going through the same thing.
I wanted to do something so I started to draft up some ideas. I remember visiting my friend’s house and showing them the ideas, I had written down on my phone and they really liked it. They offered to help me out with it as well.
I had planned this since December 2016 and thought it would be something I could start doing in the summer of 2017. The concept was called ‘messy4mind’. The idea behind it was we can see that stigma around mental health exists. By getting messy we can make mental health visible. After all, some people call it the “Invisible Illness”.
Fast forward to summer 2017 and we were ready to film the video. I chose to do a silent video holding up cards with facts about mental health and how it has affected people all around the UK. I used facts from the mental health charity Mind’s website.
When I revealed the card that said I would be ‘getting messy4mind’ I was gunged with not one but two buckets of blue gunge. Just for a laugh I also got pied in the face at the end of the video. The film was then uploaded. In less than 24 hours the video had reached over 1,000 views. This was when I began to believe we were onto something and it could really make a difference.
Since messy4mind started in 2017 it has been amazing and very overwhelming how big it has grown in the past three years.
We’ve had so many people involved all over the UK and Great Britain. We’ve also had people from abroad in countries like America and even Australia. I have had quite few celebrities involved in this challenge as well such as children’s television presenter Dave Benson-Phillips, Eating Disorder Activist Hope Virgo and also Celebrity Chef Marco Pierre-White.
So many people love the concept of messy4mind. They like the fact it’s a great way to raise awareness and money by showing the stigma exists and have a bit of fun along the way.
Sometimes I have days where I feel like giving up as it’s a lot of work to undertake but then I look at others who are struggling and realise why I started all of this in the first place.
Last Year I was nominated for Social Media Champion of the Year at the Mental Health Blog Awards. I still can’t get over how I was nominated, never mind that I won it!
My aim for this challenge is to make it more visible and get it out there to as many people as possible.
I am just one person trying to make a difference. With everyone’s help we can make a difference out there.
Nobody should be ashamed to admit they are struggling with their mental health or have mental health conditions. We are all human beings at the end of the day. People should be more kind to each other.
Watch the announcement video for the challenge here.