When you are experiencing mental illness, it can often feel like there is no way out.
Metropol caught up with Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton from Voices of Hope to get their top tips for those who are struggling and to find out what resources are available.
Can you tell us a little bit about Voices of Hope and what your purpose is?
Gen: Voices of Hope was started by myself and Jazz in 2017. We wanted to create content that we wish we had had when we were unwell. When you are experiencing mental illness it can often feel like there is no way out, that this will be your reality forever. Voices of Hope aims to give hope to those struggling by sharing stories of those with lived experience. People who have been through it and are now well. We believe that sharing your struggles and successes allows others to feel safe to do the same.
How much harder is lockdown for those who are suffering from mental illness, whether it’s anorexia, depression or anxiety?
Jazz: Lockdown is really difficult for everyone, but especially those dealing with mental illness. It is mentally isolating, so adding physical isolation makes everything 10 times harder.
Is there some overall advice you could give to people who are suffering from mental illness during this time?
Gen: Be kind to yourself. We are facing a lot of uncertainty and change and with that can come heightened anxiety and struggles. Remind yourself that you are not alone in this, we are all facing this ‘new normal’ together and that it’s understandable that you are struggling a little more now perhaps. In saying that, make sure you reach out for help, tell those around you that you’re struggling and know that this will pass.
What are some of your best ways to keep happy and healthy during lockdown?
Jazz: Keep a routine. Go to bed and get up at a reasonable time. Keep a schedule as much as you can doing things you would usually do (showering, get changed, eat at normal times). Make sure you connect with people too because while we are physically isolated, we don’t have to be socially isolated. Reach out, get on facetime or zoom – you are not alone!
If there were some messages to get out to people who are suffering right now, what would they be?
Jazz: You are not a burden! Just because we are in a current world crisis doesn’t make your struggles any less valid or real. Don’t let it silence you, continue to speak up and ask for help.
What other resources do you recommend for people who are struggling?
Jazz: At Voices of Hope we are hosting online events three times a week to create some sense of community for those who need a boost. As well as this we have had many people blog for us on this topic.