Marie Senechal

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PSYCHIATRIC WARD TO INFLUENTIAL YOUTUBER

Marie Senechal, an #ItMatters champion, was 17 when she had a breakdown and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. She would spend the next two years of her life in and out of hospital, trapped in her own mind.

She decided to post videos about her struggles to navigate her way through her psychosis, self-harm and suicidal behaviour. Today, her YouTube channel has over 24,000 subscribers.

Marie believes that “#ItMatters  is so different to other movements. By being led by young people, it is much more genuine and allows others to connect with its message at a level that many other campaigns can’t achieve. I’m so grateful to be able to support ItMatters and help the movement grow.”

Danny Bowman

“BRITAIN’S FIRST SELFIE ADDICT”

Danny Bowman, one of our #ItMatters champions, has spoken internationally about his experience of mental health issues and has appeared on ITV's This Morning, Fox News and ABC to name a few.

As a teenager, he would spend 10 hours a day taking up to 200 snaps of himself on his iPhone. He dropped out of school, not leaving his house for six months. In an attempt to escape his obsession, Danny attempted to take his own life.

In the years to follow, he would undergo intensive hospital therapy to treat his OCD and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. 
With the the help of the NHS, Danny would later go on to complete his secondary education and is now at University.
Danny Bowman is currently Director of Mental Health at Parliament Street, Vice Chair (Trustee) at MGEDT and a Fellow at the RSA.

The social media age has caused great harm to young people’s mental health. However, it’s up to us to make the change.

George David Hodgson

WARRIOR, NOT WORRIER

George Hodgson, #ItMatters Champion, is a severe anxiety and OCD sufferer. His life dramatically changed in 2012 when he had MDMA at a festival which catalysed his mental health problems. He began having panic attacks on a daily basis as well as washing his hands 50-100x a day. When it became so exhausting, he started experiencing intrusive suicidal thoughts.

After being told he’d have to wait 40 weeks from CAMHS, he sought private therapy. It took him 3 years to recover from his severe mental illness. During this time, he would write down and illustrate all his thoughts and feelings onto t-shirts. This idea would later develop into the now award-winning fashion brand Maison de Choup.

George says, “I go into schools, colleges and universities to encourage other young people that there is nothing to be ashamed of if you’re suffering. I’m supporting #ItMatters because we should all feel comfortable talking about it. Talking is the first and most important step to recovery.” 

Tamanna Miah

RISING ABOVE RACISM

From an early age, Tamanna Miah learnt that being different wasn’t always easy. She and her family were often singled out for their faith, class and ethnicity, experiencing a considerable amount of racial abuse.

At school, Tamanna was repeatedly bullied. She felt that her school did very little to address her experiences of physical and verbal abuse. Due to the stigma of bullying and mental illness within Bangladeshi society, Tamanna was incredibly isolated.

She decided to fight back by campaigning on a national level. Our #ItMatters champion continues to tackle stigma within South Asian society, raising awareness on various platforms including the BBC Asian Network.

Tamanna believes that “#ItMatters is going to make huge change at a very direct level. I’m proud to be involved with something so brilliantly run by young people.

There is still plenty of ignorance and stigma attached to mental illness in many communities. It’s about time that changed.

Ruth Fox

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WITHIN THE WHITE LINES

Ruth Fox, #ItMatters champion, has been living with depression since the age of 14. In November 2017, she was admitted to hospital following self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Eventually, Ruth would rebuild her life with the help of football. Since then, Ruth has gone on to publish a book and use her influential platform to tackle stigma against mental illness in sports. She is now an ambassador and adviser for The Shaw Mind Foundation and Mental Health FA.

Ruth says, “As someone who attempted to take my life a year ago, I know what it's like to lose hope. We as young people are the future and need to have a voice. I'm supporting #ItMatters to help our generation have that voice.”

Liv Rook

 

WHAT IS…

In 2016, Liv Rook’s life took a dramatic turn after her dad was diagnosed with severe depression in 2016. The following year became the worst year of Liv’s life as she watched the illness drastically change everyday life in such a short space of time.

With Liv’s own mental health now affected by this, our #ItMatters champion thought it was time to raise even more awareness. Liv‘s YouTube mental health series ‘What Is:' discussed the symptoms and treatments for different disorders.

She is now a leading mental health influencer and her YouTube channel continues to help thousands of young people across the nation. Young influencers are helping drive positive change. 

 

Ben West

SAVE OUR STUDENTS


In January 2018, Ben West lost his younger brother to suicide. The confusion and trauma of losing his brother compelled the teenager to make change.

Within a space of a few months, Ben helped set up the Sam West Foundation, in memory of his brother. He founded @team_walk2talk, a series of national walks across the country that aim to raise more awareness on male suicide.

To tackle the lack of mental health first aid provisions at schools, Ben launched the “Save our Students” petition.

Ben’s story continues to inspire many and has been featured on various outlets, including Men’s Health Magazine and BBC Newsbeat. He says, “we need to come together and use yesterday as inspiration to change tomorrow. I fully support #ItMatters and am very glad to be one of their champions.”

Jamala Osman

 
 
 

SPIRALLING INTO CONTROL


Jamala Osman, #ItMatters champion, uses her life story to demonstrate how mental health isn't always a vacuum issue. Growing up in the tower blocks of Ilford, Jamala grew up in a world of gang culture and violence. Her mother died when she was 14 and she was thrown out of her father's house. Her circumstances led Jamala to experiencing depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

However, Jamala held on and was compelled to take control. She would end up becoming one of the youngest ever bank managers in the UK, overcoming barriers of class, race and gender. It has inspired her to create programmes to help fellow young people overcome barriers.

One of Jamala's greatest passions is music, which she believes helped her turn her life around. Jamala says, "I love the work #ItMatters is doing. As someone who performs spoken word and rap, young people should feel empowered to talk about mental health."