By way of introduction my name is Charlie, you can see me in the picture above.
For the last three years a group of us have been volunteering our time to support the mental health of young people and adults. We have built a free to access online resource which you can find at my-mentalhealth.org.uk We also travel to schools and organisations around the UK to run wellbeing workshops and share our stories of living with mental health problems.
Throughout my childhood I suffered with serious mental health problems, and because we didn't talk about it or learn about mental health in school, it went undiagnosed until I was in my early twenties, and by this point so much damage had already been done.
Thanks to an extremely brave man who shared his lived experience with mental health, I was able to identify what I was living with and find my way to a happier and healthier place. This mans advice for recovery saved my life.
Battling an invisible illness that you may feel ashamed to talk about is extremely debilitating. I don’t want my children or nieces and nephews to grow up without sufficient support or a safe place to share their problems.
When 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder (that is around three children in every class) we can see that more support should be available.
Which is why together with a team of industry experts in mobile app development, we are building a FREE to download mobile app that will provide a safe space for sharing what’s on our mind.
Users will be able to share problems as themselves or as characters, connecting with a friendly community that can provide support gained through lived experience. We are also working on intergrating wellbeing tools and access to professional support. All of this can be accessible from the safety of our own home.
Mobile apps are very expensive to build , so we have launched a crowdfunder to raise some extra capital to help us with the project. If you support what we are trying to achieve and can spare as little as £2, please do pledge a donation. As a big thank you we will be giving away raffle tickets for every £2 donated. The prizes are pretty amazing, you can see these below.
Thank you for being part of our project.
Donating to us - prizes for you
As a BIG thank you, for every £2 donated toward our project, we will give donors a raffle ticket. This raffle ticket will open up the chance to win some absolutely wonderful prizes, donated to us from some super organisations. You can see the list of these prizes below, but keep an eye out, as we will be adding more as the weeks pass.
All donors will receive their raffle ticket numbers once the Crowdfunder has closed on 30th October 2016 - before the live draw and closing party.
- Brittany Ferries could whisk you off on holiday to France, Spain or Portugal, especially since they've kindly donated £200 towards your travel and accommodation.
- Amazon Echo is being released in the UK on September 28th. Voice control your lights, room temperature, music, order shopping and so much more. We've got one up for grabs in our raffle!
- The London Eye is a top-notch experience that provides stunning views over London. They've donated an amazing 4 tickets! x2 Adults and x2 Children
- Glastonbury Festival puts on unforgettable events, but just in case, they have donated some wonderful memorabilia goodies!
- Cath Kidston has kindly donated some beautiful products you'll want to get your hands on.
- Graze has donated a voucher that will give you three of their delicious boxes!
- Lola's Cupcakes are scrummy! We've got a VIP card up for grabs that entitles one lucky winner to x12 of their delicious cupcakes (or x24 mini cupcakes) and x2 hot drinks!
- ASOS has kindly donated a £20 gift voucher to go towards one lucky winner's next shopping spree!
- Everyman Cinema isn't your everyday cinema, they offer something quite wonderful! So how lucky are we that they've donated x2 tickets to any film you'd like to see!
- Nandos is apparently very cheeky! Well, Nandos in Canary Wharf - Jubilee Place is very kind, as they've donated 5 combo meals + drinks! So you can treat your friends or family to Nandos, or have five meals all to yourself...now that would be cheeky!
- Oliver Bonas wants to keep you looking stylish, so they've kindly donated a £20 gift card!
- Skirmish Paintball Games have donated an awesome voucher worth over £50 that gives free entry for five people, hire of equipment and 100 paintballs!
- Wilko stocks pretty much everything! So if you win the £20 voucher they've donated, you've got lots and lots to choose from!
- Haribo have kindly donated a haribo hamper! That's enough goodies to share surely?
- Harry Shaw have donated a £50 travel voucher to go towards your next adventure!
- Chocolate Ecstasy Tours have donated x2 tickets for their absolutely scrummy Mayfair Chocolate Tour!
- Canterbury River Tours have donated a £20 river tour voucher, which will secure a return tour trip for 2 adults.
- Paultons Park is an amazing family theme park. They have donated two tickets that will also give you access to their new Peppa Pig World!
On the final day of our Crowdfunder we will be holding a live draw event with our friends at The Museum of Happiness, which we will be streaming live over Facebook for all of you that can't make the event. We will email all donors with more details closer to the time.
About our organisation - where we have come from, our past.
In 2014 we launched My Mental Health, an organisation led by people who have experienced a problem with their mental health.
We built an online space, which provides a platform for sharing lived experience, and a place for us to learn about mental health and the ways in which we can look after it. When we are in crises, the last thing we need is a complex site to navigate, so the design and ease of use of our website was key - and we continually look to improve and update the site with this in mind.
We also take our work into schools and organisations to help with breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health, and to educate around ways to look after our wellbeing – answering the very real need for preventative care.
Our plans - where we are heading, our future.
Our work has helped many of those in need of support, but we want to do more!
We currently know that at least 1 in 4 of us will be diagnosed with a mental health problem in our lives. The true percentage of those that will suffer and go undiagnosed is likely to be much higher.
When current standards mean we could be waiting up to 18 weeks before we can access the support we need through the NHS, and with private counselling costing on average between £35 - £60 per session, we can see that additional support needs to be available - if only for the interim period before we can access professional services.
But, it isn't all about a diagnosable mental health problem; we can all have things on our mind that need addressing. By finding support for the seemingly smaller things, we can reduce the chance of us developing a more serious problem.
Our next BIG project “My Place” is already in production. We have designed a very exciting and innovative app, which will provide us with a safe space to seek support for any problem on our mind, and an opportunity to help others in the process. This will be accessible in anyplace, at any time of day or night, providing the option of posting anonymously until we are more comfortable with sharing what's on our mind.
When we are in crisis and/or looking for support, we may not feel able to wait until our fortnightly support sessions. How we feel cannot be scheduled.
Supporting our community and our future
We are driven by our passion for improving the world around us, so we’re always looking to do more. This is why we will be using any profit we make through My Place to invest back into our communities.
What does this look like?
We will continue to invest heavily into our work with schools around building a better understanding of mental health, peer support and general wellbeing.
We also plan to involve ourselves in youth crime prevention programs. We want to provide opportunities for young people to give back to their communities, whilst also having access to our mental health support and training.
Research - the smart stuff!
Studies show that peer support increases our knowledge of how to manage a problem, reduces the use of emergency services, and even increases our life expectancy.
Not only does peer support help the person being supported, but it also improves the lives of those providing the support. Providers of social support report less depression, heightened self-esteem and improved quality of life.
Compassion makes you happy
In a revealing experiment published in Science by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, participants received a sum of money. Half of the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves and the other half were told to spend the money on others. At the end of the study, participants that had spent money on others felt significantly happier than those that had spent money on themselves. This is true even for infants! A recent study by Elizabeth Dunn and colleagues at the University of British Columbia shows that, even in children as young as 2, giving treats to others increases their happiness more than receiving treats themselves."
When there are so many important causes that are worthy of donations, we understand not everyone is able to give. So, if you are unable to donate anything, we hope at least you enjoyed learning about our work and will accompany us on our journey.
Love, My Mental Health.