1 in 4 people suffer from mental illness at any one point in their lives, it is a statistic we’ve all heard before, yet experiences of stigma and discrimination around mental ill health are still rife. It got me thinking, what can I do to change this?
Lily is a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh. During her second year at university, she gave a TEDxUniversityofEdinburgh talk sharing her experience with mental illness as a young person. She said:
Not only was it powerful for me to share my story but I was amazed by how it opened the floor for others to share their own insights and experiences with me.
That’s how her idea for Real Talk started to develop.
Real Talk is a mental health storytelling social enterprise. It creates safe space to speak and to listen about mental ill health.
Their main activity is running mental health storytelling events, where real stories are told by real people to an open audience. They also deliver bespoke storytelling and wellbeing workshops and consultancy for organisations. In the future they hope to build and deliver a corporate well-being training programme.
Real Talk benefits both the people who are telling their stories and the audience listening. The process of crafting and telling your personal story can be incredibly powerful. Hearing another person share their story, being honest and vulnerable, is a moving experience and can spur more open conversations about mental ill health.
She has already run six Real Talk sessions, including expanding to run one in Glasgow, and has received great feedback and engagement. 21 participants have now shared their story to 286 audience members, with several audience members progressing to become speakers at subsequent sessions.
Lily is using the £500 award to build a website for Real Talk which will be launched later in the year.