Last night I stumbled across a hashtag I'd not seen before. It read #mymentalhealthis.
I read the comments from the thousands of tweets and conversations that were being had about the topic and after 2 hours I found myself still going through the tweets. What kept my attention was the broad range of reasons and ways in which individuals were using the hashtag. Many were using it as an opportunity to make known to the outside world that their mental health was poor (and how much better they felt to have made it public), other people were talking about their crippling poor mental health and how they found some days utterly unbareable. Others spoke about how they were managing their health but others were talking about the positives that had come with having poor mental health.
For me, I think that if someone has the perspective to view their poor mental health as a positive thing, they've worked incredibly hard to get there. To be so honest and realistic about what it feels like and how your life has been controlled and guided by poor mental health, says to me that they have gone through a hugely brave process to get there and good for them for taking the leap.
Now this is not a shameless plug (I promise you it's not), but time after time I am sent messages about how our 'I've got your back' range has helped start a conversation about someone's behaviour/mental health (whether they are conscious of it or not). Whether it's a gift, or a song, letter or a chat that gets the conversation going, you've done the hardest part and that's getting someone to talk about what's really on their mind.
Now let me share with you a customer scenario that I had never come up against before. The feedback I received, what happened thereafter and what is seen today is just so awesome, I feel it's perfect to share with you all in light of what I read over last night.
A friend of mine asked to have a jumper made for her sister who sadly, but also very positively had been sectioned. I say sadly as it understandibly put a lot of strain on everyone in her family but I also say positively, as my friend's sister is now a totally different person thanks to the journey and process she has bravely undergone over the last few months.
Now, I am not saying that the I've got your back jumper made a difference, in fact when it arrived to her hospital room she was thoroughly unimpressed, almost offended that she had been sent such a present. She didn't view herself as someone who needed support, encouragement or help. To her the gift was thoughtless and inappropriate, feedback I've not had before.
Skip 6 months on and I was sent a picture. The picture was of my friend's sister, wearing her I've got your back jumper with a message that spoke volumes about how far she had come.
She now understood why she was sent the jumper, thanked her for thinking of her and told her how much she loved it.