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Posted On: 5th Jul 2017

Unmasking Mental Health

Louise wants people to talk about their mental health
Louise has created a film with Fixers to show how people can hide behind masks
Elizabeth Armstrong from BETTER Pathways supports Louise's campaign

'I think there are a lot of people that feel that they can’t talk about mental health, whether that be because they’re ashamed or they’re worried what people may say to them.


'In my experience it’s definitely helped speaking about it and it’s much healthier than just keeping it inside and letting it fester.' 


Louise Bown, 20, has depression and anxiety and wants to break down the taboos which exist around mental health. 


With Fixers she has created a film showing how people can put on a mask and pretend they're okay, when actually they are struggling with mental health issues. 


You can view it here.


She told her story on ITV News Central on July 6th.  


Louise, who lives in Erdington, says: 'When I was born my mum had postnatal depression, which I feel is the catalyst that led to my mental health issues.


'Not having an emotional connection growing up very much affected how I was. I was shy and introverted, I felt very alone and like an outcast and that progressed as I got older. 


'For a long time I’ve hidden behind a mask and very much put on a character, and I used that concept in my Fixers film.


'I think some people do this as a coping mechanism, and there's an idea that if you pretend you’re okay maybe you eventually will be okay. I’ve learned that that isn’t the case.' 


Her project is supported by Elizabeth Armstrong from BETTER Pathways.


She says: 'I thought Louise's film got across a great message. The mask really shows that young people can look absolutely normal on the outside but inside they’re going through a huge range of different emotions that they’re trying to deal with.


'Here in the West Midlands there is an increase in anxiety and depression amongst young people. One in 10 young people will experience a mental health illness in their lifetime. There’s been about a 70 per cent increase in the last 25 years.'  



Louise, who says creative writing and counselling to help her cope, is encouraging people to ask for help when they realise something is wrong.


'I know from my experience it did take me a long time to get access to counselling and that's the case for many people,' she says. 


'I want to encourage people who feel like they are suffering with mental health problems to go to their GP and seek that help as soon as they can. 


'Talking to someone in confidence and who’s very supportive makes a world of difference.' 


To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.


Author: Molly Kersey


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