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In a time where people are connected to each other constantly, through the medium of social media, a frank and open discussion regarding mental health should be welcomed.
We may be more social than ever online, but have we also become more insular in person?
A study back in 2015 showed that 76% of women check social media platforms at least 10 times when out with friends, compared with 54% of blokes. Plus, 87% of millennials admitted to missing out on a conversation because they were distracted by their phone.
This isn't anything that we didn't know already. I can't remember the last time I watched a movie all the way through without perusing Facebook and Instagram.
Of course there are massive benefits when it comes to social media. We can collectively raise millions of pounds for charities and good causes (just have a look on GoFundMe, who've raised over $3 billion). It can help reunite families and even help one guy get a free year's supply of chicken nuggets. But when you're with your families and friends, and they're all looking at their phones, how alone do you feel?
Two LADs, James Parker and Saam Zonoozi, have decided to use social media in an attempt to get more people talking about mental health.
It ties in with Mental Health Awareness Week, which is happening right now.
The basic premise is to take a picture of your 'happy place' and share it with the hashtag #HappyPlaces on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook... anywhere really. The LADs hope that someone who's struggling and needs a happy place can find one from the feed.
The campaign is in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity, and us here at LADbible and LENSbible.
Speaking to LADbible about where they came up with the idea, James said: "The campaign idea came after the loss of two close friends of mine. It greatly affected everyone in my area and after seeing the uprising of mental health support on social media we thought that now would be a great time for Happy Places.
"Suffering from various mental health issues myself, this campaign gave me and many others like me the chance to share their fears, share their stories and share their happy places. The ultimate idea is that anyone going through a hard time can go onto Instagram, go to the #HappyPlaces tag and find hundreds of people who are willing to talk, share and help. Something that needs to be made apparent."
Saam, who runs LENSbible, is working with professional photographers as well as the public to spread the message. He explained: "To get involved in #HappyPlaces all you need to do is share an image of your happy place to your social channel of choice. Your happy place is where you go in times of need, during any battle with a mental issue or even in times of stress.
"A lot of people not suffering from day-to-day mental issues might not know this place exists, so that's why it should be catching people's attention. Finally, we've teamed up with Mind charity, so please donate anything you're able/willing to so we can hit our target to donate to Mind. Anything will make a difference."
So far, they've raised £385 of their £500 target for Mind.
James summarised: "It takes courage to open up on social media, as mentioned in the campaign it forms who you become, it forms your opinions and it forms your friendship circles. Within this, people have to be willing to listen, that is what we are working towards - the idea that social media can be a place to discuss mental health without politics or ridicule."
We want to celebrate the everyday legends. What are you doing to benefit the community? Is your mate doing something that the LAD community needs to know about? If there's something that you reckon deserves an article on LADbible - we want to know about it. Email us with your story - [email protected] and you could be featured.
'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which will feature a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/James Parker
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