Words: Rachel Cameron-Potter
In February 2021, Lux Lucet Zine Editor-in-Chief Nelli and Assistant Editor Rachel were invited to speak on Spotify podcast All Things Mental Health, discussing the role of creativity in relation to mental health and mental health disorders.
The conversation around mental health is changing. From the government policies implemented to reduce discrimination against those with mental health disorders in the workplace, to the increasing number of online forums offering support and wellbeing advice, the number of safe spaces opening up in society are steadily growing.
However, despite this widespread change in attitude towards mental health, the topic is still shrouded in a heavy mist of taboo, of awkwardness and a ‘stiff-upper-lip’ approach that does more harm than good.
Mental health disorders are still widely misunderstood, susceptible to misrepresentation in the media and subsequently making more work for those looking to dismantle the associated stereotypes and assumptions. Depression is still seen as a prolonged bout of sadness; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, otherwise known as OCD, is synonymous with meticulousness and cleanliness. Although mental health awareness is on the rise, it still seems we have a long way to go in ensuring that those struggling with their mental health are appropriately represented and thus are able to better access the support they need.
Enter All Things Mental Health, a Spotify podcast set up by a group of university students looking to bust the conversation on mental health wide open. Podcast founder and host Aneeska Sohal describes the podcast as a “wider initiative which sets out to create a discussion around mental health in young minds, from school years to the end of university.” The aim is to shatter the taboo surrounding mental health disorders in students by opening a dialogue with young people from various backgrounds, talking about their personal experiences with their mental health and the journeys that they’re currently on. The podcast also conducts interviews with professionals who work in the mental health space, including policy makers, CEOs, thinkers and activists.
More recently, All Things Mental Health began conducting a series of Instagram Live sessions, talking to young professionals about the work they do and how it is linked to raising mental health awareness. This can either be through the work itself, or in relation to their own personal mental health experiences.
In February 2021, Lux Lucet Zine Editor-in-Chief Nelli Mooney and I were invited to speak on this podcast, where we covered not only our personal experiences managing mental health, but how Lux Lucet Zine offers a platform for emerging artists to share their mental health experiences in a creative format.
Getting creative is one of the best ways to take good care of your mental health, whether it’s making music, drawing, sketching or anything that you enjoy. For Editor-in-Chief Nelli, whose creative pursuits include acting, photography and writing, getting creative is a mood-booster, an escape from the everyday into a world where anything is possible.
For many artists, creativity is also an outlet, a way for them to manage their mental health and to share their experience through creative mediums. Although I’m no Van Gough – who, prone to extreme bouts of depression, used painting as a “bulwark against madness” – I’ve found comfort in writing about my experience with OCD, using poetry as a way to help me understand what exactly was going on inside my own head.
Following on from my conversation with Aneeska, I was amazed by the number of people who reached out to me afterwards, telling me about their own mental health struggles and where they were in their mental health journeys. These people had been battling their own inner demons, yet for a handful of them this battle was their best kept secret. It really makes you realise that you actually have no idea what people are going through.
Once again, I’d like to thank Aneeska and the All Things Mental Health team for having us feature, and for keeping the all-important conversations around mental health going.