#ItGetsBrighter: A platform for young people experiencing mental health issues to share messages of hope
This entry is a post of a media release for the "It Gets Brighter" campaign launch.
Today we launch ‘It Gets Brighter’, an exciting new campaign to support young people struggling with mental health issues through providing a platform to let them share their messages of hope.
Our inspiration, came in part from the words of Stephen Fry, a British actor and comedian, talking about his experiences of bipolar disorder during an interview with the BCC: "You can’t brush it off by saying it’s perfectly sunny, because you feel it isn’t. But on the other hand you can’t say, ‘Well that’s it, there’s no point in living. It’s dark now. It’s gone dark.’ You have to believe it will get brighter. If not the next day, then the day after.” While some of Stephen’s darker times have become public knowledge, it is also clear, with the happy event of his recent wedding, that bright times are possible for all struggling with mental health issues.
And yet, in the midst of mental health struggles, it can be easy to feel alone, hopeless and despairing. I know that when I was diagnosed with OCD at 14 and was told this was a ‘life-long condition’ I wondered how I would ever escape the ‘crazy box’ I felt trapped in. But hope is powerful. Feeling supported is powerful. Now, that was half my life ago, and I am grateful that I no longer have OCD. I am a graduate student studying Clinical Neuroscience at Oxford University, where I have met many other students who have or are struggling with mental health issues but are also doing amazing things with their lives.
Wanting to share Stephen Fry’s message of hope, and to show people they are not alone, a small team of student volunteers created the ‘It Gets Brighter’ campaign, an online platform for sharing video messages of hope for young people struggling with mental health issues. By collecting such short video messages from those living with a mental health issue, and those who support them, we aim to show that there is power in our vulnerability. Many public figures have supported the initiative including Stephen Fry (British comedian), Ruby Wax (British comedian) and Penny Wright (Australian politician). Geoff Gallop (former Australian politician), Jeff Kennett (former Australian politician) and Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury, England) have also provided videos.
Many of you work with young people with mental health struggles across the world. We are currently connected to partners and spokespeople in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Lebanon. We are hoping to expand our reach to low and middle income countries, and are in the process of forming partnerships with the Movement for Global Mental Health and Basic Needs.
It would be wonderful if you could support our work by:
- Providing feedback on the website.
- Promoting our website and sharing our promotional video through social media and your networks.
- Suggesting partners for us to link with.
- Sharing the website with people who may be interested in making a video.
Thanks very much for your help. With your support, we can help change the conversation around mental illness, to reach young people and help support them so ‘it gets brighter’ for us all.
Top Image - Students from Universities across the UK take part in a workshop to share their mental health message, as part of development of the It Gets Brighter campaign, Rhodes House, 2014