Chloe Stratford’s mum has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and other mental health problems since Chloe was a baby.
“It affected everything really. There’s nothing it didn’t affect. Home life was very, very hard. I was so stressed out to the point it was dangerous.”
As she grew up, 18-year-old Chloe was terrified she might go down the same path as her mother.
“I think actually that was one of my main worries,” she says. “I suffered with really bad anxiety at one point. I was having panic attacks and I was feeling very low.”
As a result of her experience, Chloe has learned the importance of looking after her mental health.
Fixers has helped her create a booklet full of useful tips and information about staying well.
She explains: “It’s been a journey of self-discovery. Eventually I looked at myself and said I can’t live like this and be like my mum and not be well: I started to eat healthier. I stopped smoking. I started exercising. I did meditation and to this day I haven’t had another panic attack.”
The booklet is mostly based on Chloe’s own experience plus some additional research she carried out.
It’s called How Are You? and encourages people to better understand, record and keep control of their mental health.
“I wanted it to stand out. I wanted someone to look at it and think – that might be interesting. It’s also about hearing people. A lot of people say ‘how are you?’ - but they’re not listening to the answer."
One section is called The Wellness Challenge and outlines an activity for each day of a month – things like ‘List 10 Things You are Grateful For’, ‘Take a Walk Outdoors’ and ‘Don’t Overthink’.
“When I was unwell I had to do things like that,” says Chloe. “I had no choice if I wanted to get better. I had to do something every day and I think if you can do it for a month, you can do it for longer. Small steps at a time.
“The main message is it’s OK not to be OK, but you can help yourself to stay healthy.”
This project was funded by the Blagrave Trust.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.