I’m getting ready this week to pitch my heart out at the launch of Flamingo Punk, the new agency offering comms support to businesses on a mission. I’m excited to do so because I think we’re at a real turning point in Mental Snapp on our mission in mental health.
In my work as a peer and a film maker/story teller, I’ve seen far too many people with the confidence knocked out of them. I think it’s really criminal to tell someone they can’t do something, particularly when you don’t have any evidence. We’ve always held the belief that people who use our app have the ability to manage their own mental health, that recording private video diaries can help to draw that skill and ability out. The fact is that whether you believe you can do something, or you believe you can’t, you’re usually right. So why should so many people believe that they can’t manage their mental health and as a consequence lower their life expectations? There is no more cruel way to rob someone than to rob them of their potential, and that is what we have done as a society by focusing our discussion of mental health on what people can’t do, rather than on what they CAN.
With that in mind, I’m pitching for the launch of a campaign which is about celebrating the skills, talents and abilities that extraordinary people up and down the country and across the world have in actively managing their mental health. I know that as someone who has managed bipolar for twenty years, I have picked up qualities and talents of empathy, listening, communication, time and energy management and many more, through having to live in a way that is mindful of my mental health and through meeting and hanging out with some truly remarkable people I would not otherwise have met. It has been a journey, and I’m proud of that achievement. I look forward to more.
Why is that that we don’t celebrate the skills that people have, when there are so many amazing stories of people of courage who defy the odds every time they get out of bed in the morning, or who have been put in a position where they have to deal with their self stigma and live as inspiring examples to others in their community who hope to do the same? It’s honesty about where we are that will really change us from an illness/wellness, us/them model to the kind of inclusive community that we should aspire to be. At Mental Snapp we actively seek to work with people who can put their personal experience of mental health on their CV. I’d like to see that in more jobs – just as parents returning to work after a career break do. I don’t see that there is a difference in the level of soft skills that can be acquired, but I do see that common to both fields is confidence.
That’s why I’ve been tweeting and retweeting everytime I see someone on social media demonstrating their skill in self management this hashtag – #wecanMH, usually with a muscle emoji. Muscles get stronger with use. Muscles are something to be proud of and indicate strength. They are as sure a sign of physical fitness as #wecanMH is a expression of mental fitness. Flexing your muscles is an expression of pride, not shame, not self stigma or discrimination. It’s about standing up for who you are, that’s what we need in mental health.
We need to look at assets, we need to celebrate what people can do, not penalise them for what they can’t. Lets be proud of our mental health and how we manage it. Let’s come together in community and support each other. Let’s break down the barriers to what we can achieve.
This is what I’m going to be pitching – to create this community of celebration. It’s a hustle, and the logo, which I’ve put together myself until I hope that the amazing Amanda at Flamingo Punk can work her magic, is based on a hustle itself and a kind of 90’s punk type attitude. I’ve already got postcards for Mental Snapp printed, and I thought of this campaign after. Never mind, just punk it up with a rubber stamp. It’s not about us, it’s about you. I’m going to get rubber stamps made and badges, we’re hoping to distribute them at the Mental Health Blogger Awards in July. Get in touch if you want a stamp or a badge, and we’re going to be getting on instagram and spreading the word. It’s going to be a low-fi, grass roots campaign, and I hope that I can recruit some comms help – wish me luck in my pitch on Thursday. But with your help, whatever happens, we’ll do it anyway.
If you believe in this message, spread the word. Retweet every positive message you see about mental health and let the world know that #wecanMH. Tweet yourself under the banner. #wecanMH isn’t owned by anyone, its available for you or for anyone to shout about a positive, skills based look at mental health. Mental health isn’t a negative thing, it’s about what we can do – when we do it together.
Also published on Medium.