Mental health can be difficult to talk about. Luckily, we have a wonderfully strong group of YouTubers to reflect on their experiences and help us know we’re not alone.
Mental health and mental illness are a complicated part of our human experience. In a cultural space that still stigmatises these issues, it can seem incredibly isolating to go through something like anxiety or depression alone. It can also be overwhelming to articulate what these experiences feel like if you’ve never talked about them before.
In appreciation for the dialogue on mental health that has developed within the YouTube community, we’ve compiled some of our favourite videos talking all about personal experiences with mental health. Here they are, Five of the Best: Videos About Mental Health.
What Are BFRBS? – TrichJournal
Beckie Brown has done so much for the mental health conversation on YouTube that it’s difficult to choose just one of her videos for this list. Not only does this video describe BFRBs (body-focused repetitive behaviours) for those who are new to the term, but it also gives language to those who may be suffering from BFRBs and may not have previously had a way to talk about it.
Beckie also makes a distinction between BFRBs and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), expressing the importance of understanding that both BFRBs and OCD are different, individual disorders. Additionally, we see a wonderfully strong emphasis that BFRBs affect millions of people, helping to validate that these illnesses are not rare or shameful.
Anxiety – Grace F Victory
Next, we couldn’t ignore Gracie Francesca Victory‘s recent video about her experience with anxiety. As she mentions, we often see people talking about mental illness after they have already gone through it and processed their emotions. It’s rare to see people express such immediate, unresolved feelings of anxiety as bravely as Grace does in this video.
When we are only given a picture of people who have “recovered” or have learned to manage their mental illness, there is an inevitable sense of detachment if we have not also reached that recovery point. To hear Grace talk about the physical and intellectual discomfort of anxiety as it’s happening shifts the mental health conversation from “past experiences” to “present experiences”, giving a different sense of agency to those who have not yet “beaten” their mental illness.
Why Are You Sad? – Bry and Candice
We are incredibly thankful to have Bry and Candice O’Reilly expressing their thoughts and experiences so eloquently on their channel. The question – why are you sad? – is undeniably simple, but unquestionably profound when thinking about mental illness. Bry’s vulnerable poem highlights a very real internal monologue that helps us to understand and relate to the struggle that comes with depression.
Bry also offers a significant question about the way we view mental illness online. While greater conversation and awareness should be positive, has the overuse of words such as “depression” and “anxiety” undermined the implications of these illnesses? As Bry mentions, we often feel we have no right to be sad when we consider that others might be less advantaged in their situation.
We also can’t ignore the ending of Bry’s poem. We convince ourselves that we need a reason to have mental illness. However, most of the time, it’s not easy and a lot of the time there is no answer.
Anxiety, Depression, and Being a Downer – charlieissocoollike
As Grace mentions in her video, often, mental illnesses don’t work alone. Charlie McDonnell‘s conversation about his anxiety and depression candidly addresses how different mental illnesses can often play upon one another. One of the first points that Charlie makes is that he had previously defined himself as a “depressed person” or an “anxious person”, seeing these traits as part of his personality, as opposed to symptoms of a greater health problem.
Echoing similar sentiments to Grace and Bry, Charlie also mentions the implied moratorium the internet has on hearing about a mental illness, and just like Bry’s poem, Charlie brings up some important questions about the online community. Should we find a “cute” or “funny” way to talk about mental illness? Is it ethically appropriate to do so? Do we need to prove that we can handle the difficulties that come with these disorders before we discuss them publicly?
Charlie comments on the importance of medication in helping to treat his anxiety and depression, and separate himself from the illnesses. Even in a more progressive space like YouTube, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills are frequently stigmatised and viewed as a cop-out in dealing with these illnesses. As always, Charlie is as authentic as ever and we can’t thank him enough.
HOW IT FEELS – a short – Bertie Gilbert
“Anxiety and depression are like strangers who walk into that house uninvited.”
We wanted to leave you with Bertie Gilbert‘s beautifully chilling piece about what it feels like to have anxiety and depression. As we watch Bertie move through still spaces, our focus is guided to the lyrical voiceover expressing the jarring nature of challenging the mind. The cinematography implies a deep sense of isolation, that this poem is undeniable dialogue of mental restlessness.
As well as describing the feeling of mental illness, Bertie also exemplifies the fear that comes with anxiety and depression. The mind is often more powerful than we imagine it to be and can often trick us into believing we have no right in our own kingdoms. The video proves to be a powerful visual representation of how difficult mental illness can be to face.
So there you have it…
Our utmost appreciation for all of our brilliant creators contributing to the dialogue on mental health and challenging the stigma of mental illness. More information about mental health and support can be found through Mind UK, Childline, and mentalhealth.org.
Want more Five of the Best? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:
- Five of the Best: Videos About Gender and Sexuality
- Five of the Best: Body Image
- Five of the Best: Letters to Yourself