Resident writer Gemma caught up with BBC’s Mim Shaikh to chat about his new video ‘Coming Out’. Touching on some important subjects in the world of mental health, they discuss loss, life and encouraging young people to talk openly about their mental health.
Let’s chat about the video first – I loved it! What inspired you and what is the main message you wanted to convey?
Thank you. I enjoyed putting it together. 6 months ago, I lost my Grandmother and my centre of gravity was shifted for the first time in my 25 years on this planet. I found myself behaving differently, thinking in ways I never did before. Questioning myself more, not having any confidence in what I do and I just felt the best thing I could do is just to give up. Then I started to look back at everything I had achieved and started being more grateful for things in my life, in work, to relationships with family and friends. I wrote a spoken word piece before releasing this one called ‘No Father’s Day’ which allowed me to reflect on what it was like growing up without knowing who your Father is. The feedback from the video, inspired me to not run away from the hard times in my life but to actually embrace them harder than the successes. I thought I could make another video which would help people who may be coming to terms with their mental health. The main message was to just show that we are all coming to terms with our mental health, the word mental just has such a negative connotation but it’s just the same way of us coming to terms with our physical health. So if were training at the gym, and working out regularly, what are we doing for our minds? So I got together with a good friend of mine, and we co-wrote the piece: ‘Coming Out’.
The video is and will be a great inspiration, especially for young people. How do you feel about the mental health resources available for young people in the U.K?
That was one of the motivations to even make the video, as a vehicle for young people to watch and feel like it’s fine to openly talk about their mental health. I’m impressed at the fact that there a range of different and a variety of charities that focus on mental health issues such as Rethink, Mind and Sane etc. However, something that I find peculiar is, why we were never taught about the implications of mental health in School. This should be something they should start introducing. A head teacher who works in a primary school saw the video and she got in touch to say that it’s scary how so many young people are suffering with anxiety and if there’s anything she can do, she would love to help. I think we should introduce mental health education in schools, we should implement more learning in lessons like PSHE. We learn about photosynthesis in biology, but we never get taught what anxiety is!? Something that affects our mind on a constant basis. It doesn’t make any sense to me!
See the full interview here.