You’d think I already write enough, but when a hobby is so pleasureable you should take advantage of it as often as you can – something you all know I promote as part of my Creative Coping Strategies Campaign.
However, recently my writing has been focussed on things that feel very negative and monotinous. Writing to publishers and being ignored – this is always heartbreaking. Then there’s general admin and research gathering for this site. It’s all important, but it’s not the sort of writing I enjoy.
With all that in mind I contacted a few Mental Health charities about the possibility of writing for them. Several have already happened and some are still in the pipeline, but there’s one I’ve already created and it might be a good starting point for someone else looking to blog in an understanfding community of understanding virtual people.
SANE is one of the UK’s leading mental health charities, providing emotional support, completing research, fighting for improvements and raising awareness of what mental illness is really like.
I’ve been lucky enough to have email contact with several SANE employees at their Head Office, and they are a super supportive bunch and always seem motivated to help people engage with the support they need.
One of their team recommended the community support network on their website, which is a really useful tool for anyone like me, desperately searching for others that get it…if you know what I mean.
The SANE community support area offers users a safe space to share their lived experience and connect with other people who understand mental illness well, because they are living it too. There’s a community forum, artwork submission area, audio submission area and a blog area too. These various mediums offer users a way of communicating without actually having a conversation, something I know can be triggering for many people…talking is triggering for me too, and I actively avoid it.
I’ve already registered and created an introduction on my part of their blog network as StephWrites (you’ll need to join in order to read FYI). I intend to engage with some digital artwork too and the forum is brimming with real-life warriors offering their advice, support and many listening ears. Being open 24/7 means you have somewhere to post your thoughts even in the darkest moments, that includes in the dead of night. I’m sure many of you would find it handy.
The SANE community is the perfect place to start an online journey talking about your personal mental health experiences, and possibly offering your help to others too. You can be as specific or vague as you want, you can do what I do here and just blog general comments and anecdotes about your life and experiences, or you can submit some artwork that inspired you. There are so many options and doing it this way gives you a taster of talking publicly without the commitment of having to buy a domain, build a website and worry about GDPR and privacy settings (all a nightmare).
I’ve said many times before that I firmly believe the only way we’ll effect REAL change is by supporting and understanding each other. Here in the UK the NHS is under huge strain and in my experience, the support needed to get mental illness patients back on their feet is incredibly hard to find and engage with long-term. SANE have recognised the need for a peer-to-peer support network to precisely fill this gap, and I highly recommend it for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above.
If you decide to give it a go then let me know how you get on. If you’d like to share your post with me I’d be glad to have a read of someone elses words for the first time in a while!
Good luck, and happy supporting! 💜💜
I drew this a few weeks ago because our daughter couldn’t stop talking about cows!
I wanted an image to accompany this post that implied community in some way, and ‘Mooville’ is as colourful, friendly and inclusive as the SANE community…I’d be happy to spend time in either.
Although Mooville probably stinks!
Thanks for reading.