It Affects Me - A Better Way To Talk About Mental Health.



I just want to take a few moments to draw attention to a campaign which has been gaining ground in the last few weeks, featuring the hashtag #itaffectsme. It was carried forward by 29-year old Londoner Laura Darrall, a working woman determined to draw better attention to the open and honest discussion of mental illness. That is why the #itaffectsme campaign is so important, because it is profound and personal – encouraging people to converse. It’s already led to positive reaction across the world, rolling out discussion of people’s own personal experiences, emotions and mentality. This is something Cathartic openly allows for too, hence why I am grateful.

Constructive campaigns matter – the language of mental health

#itaffectsme is language it is straightforward to understand – refreshing because it is not apologetic or obscured, as discussion of mental health often is. I am tired of mental health being treated like a side-issue, a consequence or even a confession; so change is welcome. Furthermore, the campaign draws attention to the impact of mental health conditions, that they do indeed ‘affect’ people. It isn’t just a case of ‘feeling the blues’ or a bit of casually-referred to ‘stress’ the media unhelpfully circulates; mental illnesses are profoundly affecting as well as exhausting. Just because they are in the mind, it does not mean they are passive – and this is something I think the concise wording of the campaign draws attention to well. ‘Affects’ shows the active impact of ‘it’; whether a diagnosed illness or just a difficult mental condition. Ultimately, if you are facing any form of psychological struggle, even a worry, you deserve to feel able to talk about ‘it’ – no need for definition or particular. This is refreshing too.

The honest language of ‘me’ also suggests that speaking personally about mental health is a way forwards. This is important and a point on which can be seen to strike a healthy balance within – you can put forward your personal view as strongly as you like, whilst remaining anonymous. Because ultimately, it is not our names which summarise us, but our experiences. Whether you are just reflecting on your own situation or getting involved in a campaign like #itaffectsme, you are opening your valuable insight to other people.

Integral – openness and experience

Recent trending campaigns such as #itaffectsme could also be seen as important due to the form they take; easily embraced online. This emphasizes the internet as a place to discuss and develop our awareness of mental health, rather than evade it. It is brilliant to see more campaigns, collectives and forums – as well as publications taking an interest too, such as The Guardian which publicised the #itaffectsme campaign recently. Although mental illnesses are active and ‘affect’ things, it can be liberating to know that the internet offers so may opportunities for action too; being part of a group going to meetings which in computer or in-person, writing up your thoughts on Cathartic …

An essential point about campaigns like #itaffectsme and sites like is this - Openness and experience, together. This seems an important theme on entering New Year and long may it continue - not only opening up conversation about mental health, but providing people with the assurance that it is okay to be EXPRESSIVE.

Cathartic could even be considered the stage up from Twitter, as no character limit, just room for you to be. Whether you ae affected positively or negatively, recently or in the past. This is a place open for your experience, as well as an experience in itself. If you have a story you would like to share, click "Your Story" and express yourself in total anonymity.