According to the World Health Organization, “one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives”.
One in four. That means we all know someone who is currently suffering with mental illness, whether we’re aware of it or not. While society has become more open about discussing mental health in recent years, there’s still a stigma around the subject, which is why we have days like 10 October’s World Mental Health Day to help further the discussion and break down the barriers people face as a result.
Unsurprisingly, YouTube has become a place for both creators and viewers to share their experiences with mental health problems, with many videos offering personal stories and/or tips. There are many creators within the UK who are aiming to lessen the stigma around these issues, and we felt the need to share them in the hopes of letting readers know they’re not alone in their struggles.
Zoe Sugg has been quite open with her audience regarding her struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. Stating that problems arose during her late teens, Zoe has used her YouTube channel – as well as her social media and blog – to share her journey in combatting anxiety. Wanting to show her viewers what life is really like with an anxiety disorder, Zoe has opted to share some very personal moments on her second channel, showing the effects it has on her daily life.
Since opening up about her struggles, Zoe has gone to see a therapist, which she talked about in an Instagram post earlier this year. She also went on to become Mind UK’s first ever digital ambassador in 2014, to help raise awareness about anxiety in young people.
One look at Savannah Brown‘s channel will offer up quite a few videos regarding her battles with mental health. There are many videos where she openly discusses her experiences with eating disorders and anxiety, even writing Skinny Girls Bleed Flowers about the romanticisation of EDs.
Savannah has also given her thoughts on the romanticisation of mental illness, which is something that has noticeably increased over the past few years. In her video, she discusses the normalisation of certain aspects of mental health disorders, which leads both to the perpetuation of said aspects and the prevention of those suffering from seeking help. She makes the point that this behaviour is hurting those who are actually struggling, which is something we all need to be aware of.
Those who have been watching Tom Ridgewell for any length of time will be aware of just how open he is about his struggles with depression. From videos dedicated to the topic to clips featured in his Last Week series, Tom has demonstrated that he isn’t afraid to show viewers what life is really like with depression, especially when you accidentally forget to take your medication. He’s also been vocal about mental health on Twitter, urging those tweeting him for advice to seek help from a professional.
Tom’s voice on the topics of depression and mental health is especially important (as are those of all the male YouTubers on this list), as it shows that men also face mental health issues and that isn’t something to feel ashamed of. Mental health problems can affect those of any gender and it’s important that more men speak up about their own experiences to lessen gender-specific stigma.
One of the more vocal mental health advocates on YouTube is Dodie Clark, who through the use of her second channel and social media has shared her struggles with depression, anxiety, and depersonalisation. Through using doddlevloggle as a sort of diary, Dodie has shown viewers the ups and downs she’s had as a result of her struggles with mental health, from different treatment plans to interactions with those around her.
Dodie has also shared her struggles with those outside of the YouTube sphere. Earlier this year, she teamed up with BBC Radio 5 Live to allow viewers a look into trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with the aim of showing that it’s okay to seek help when it comes to mental health.
Calum McSwiggan isn’t just an LGBTQ+ rights advocate, he’s also here to help break away the stigma around mental illness. Not only has Calum shared his own experience with depression, but he also posts videos that allow viewers to see they’re not alone in their struggles.
One of Calum’s videos on depression explains to viewers the lies your brain tells you when you’re suffering from it. When it comes from someone who has experienced it firsthand, it gives viewers a sense that they’re not alone and that recovery is something that’s possible.
Gracie Francesca Victory
With an increased societal pressure for people to have the “perfect” body, there have been more instances of people being diagnosed with eating disorders. Often, the desire to be thin begins to take its toll on the brain and play with underlying issues, such as OCD, depression, and anxiety. That’s why it’s so important to see those who have entered recovery, like Grace F. Victory.
Grace has been very open on her channel about her struggles with eating disorders. Through sharing her own story and allowing viewers to see her at her most vulnerable times, she’s been able to show the impact these types of disorders can have on a person. And through her video with her therapist, she’s been able to educate those who might not know too much about eating disorders, which further works to break down the stigma around them.
One of the more recent creators to bring awareness to mental health issues is Daniel Howell, whose video Daniel and Depression details his own experience with depression. Throughout the video, he explains what happens to him when a depressive episode hits, stating that he often finds that he can’t even get out of bed or find the motivation to do anything. From looking at the comments, it’s something many of his viewers can relate to.
Daniel ends the videos by letting viewers in on the tactics he’s taken to combat his depression, which include seeing a therapist, opening up to friends, and even (*gasp*) exercising on a regular basis. With such a large audience, his story is sure to be seen by thousands and will hopefully help those who find themselves in a similar situation.
Melanie Murphy has been quite open on her channel regarding her struggles with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, and her story allows viewers to learn something we feel is very important when it comes to not just EDs, but mental health issues in general: recovery isn’t always a straight line. Oftentimes, recovery is something that itself has many ups and downs, lefts and rights, and that’s why it’s important to be both hopeful and dedicated when going through it. While it might be hard at times, a positive mindset can do wonders.
Melanie has also uploaded a video that discusses the warning signs people should be aware of when it comes to eating disorders. As with many other mental health issues, it’s important to catch the warning signs early, and it’s videos like these that offer up things for people to be aware of in both themselves and loved ones.
Beckie Brown has dealt with trichotillomania since she was a child, and has been documenting her struggle with the disorder on her Trich Journal YouTube channel. With a channel dedicated solely to documenting her life with the disorder, Beckie is able to give viewers a look at not only the energy it takes to deal with “trich”, but also the triumphs one can have and down times that can occur when it feels like it’s too much to handle.
Beckie’s videos offer a realistic look at what life with a mental health disorder is like, and her open and friendly manner allows viewers to feel that they’re safe to share their own stories. Her dedication to raising awareness and offering advice is helping to break down the stigma around mental health, and we hope to see many more adopt her attitude and determination.
YouTube veteran Gary C has long been open about his experiences with depression and anxiety, and his open and gentle manner has made his channel a refuge for those looking for a safe place to share their experiences. Scattered around his usual content are videos ranging from those urging viewers to indulge in self-care to those documenting his personal experience with medication, and altogether they’re helping to raise awareness about mental health problems.
Gary has also been vocal about his experiences on social media, further allowing viewers to see they’re not alone in their own personal struggles. By creating such an accepting environment, Gary is showing that issues with mental health aren’t something to be ashamed of.
You’re not as alone as you might think.
While it might feel like it sometimes, it’s important to remember that many people across the world deal with mental health issues, including the creators listed above. We hope you give their videos a watch, and that their content is able to help in some way. We here at TenEighty feel mental health is a topic that should be discussed on a regular basis, which is why we aim to feature creators opening up the discussion.
Those seeking information and support for mental health can find it via Childline and Mind UK.
Here are a few more articles about mental health, which might interest you:
- Five of the Best: Videos About Mental Health
- Five More of the Best: Videos About Mental Health
- Mental Health Panel at Summer in the City 2017
- Mental Health Panel at Summer in the City 2016
- Mental Health Panel at Summer in the City 2015
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