A group of friends have created an animation to encourage people to talk about their mental health.
Robyn Wimble, 23, from Croydon, wanted to use her experience of depression, anxiety and depersonalisation to reach out to other young people in a similar position.
She teamed up with her friend, Nikki Mattocks, and Fixers to create the short video about their struggles with mental health and how talking can be the first step towards dealing with it.
‘As long as you talk to one person, professional or not, it is still better than keeping it to yourself; it means you are not alone,’ said Robyn.
Robyn, who is studying communications and media at Bournemouth University, first started suffering from depression when she moved to high school aged 13. The new environment, coupled with new peers and exam pressures also led to Robyn developing anxiety when she was fifteen.
Then in November 2016 Robyn’s world fell apart when she learnt her friend had died in the Croydon tram crash. Soon after the accident Robyn developed depersonalisation – a disorder characterised by an emotional numbness and sense of being detached from the world around you.
‘I did not know if the things I was doing were real,’ Robyn explained. ‘I just felt numb; I had no feelings or emotions at all.
Robyn and Nikki now run a support group which encourages anyone experiencing a mental health crisis to talk about it.
Nikki, 20, from Guildford, agrees talking can make all the difference.
‘It could be a friend or a stranger, a teacher, anyone you trust,’ she said.
Nikki, who is studying mental health nursing at the University of Surrey, is passionate about raising awareness of mental health.
Her own struggle started at the age of six when she was bullied at school and became very unhappy. Then at the age of 14, Nikki experienced a traumatic event while babysitting for a neighbour and this sparked a mental health crisis.
‘I felt like I did not want to be alive,’ she said. ‘I just felt really helpless, like I did not have a future.’
Doctors diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder and emotionally unstable anxiety disorder. She was in and out of hospital and medicated heavily to treat her moods.
‘If I had a lot more help from the age of six onwards things would not have turned out the way they did; I would have been able to cope a lot better,’ Nikki said.
Their Fixers film is an animation with three different characters all describing their personal experiences with mental health. It shows the positive outcomes they had once they opened up about their struggles.
‘Hopefully people will see our film and not suffer in silence anymore,’ said Robyn.
Robyn's project was supported by the Wellcome Trust
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.