Everyone says that we should talk about mental health more, it's what campaigns such as Time to Talk (by Time to Change) are all about. So, that's exactly what mental health support and awareness group, Minds Like Ours, is going to do...for a whole 24 hours. Up to 10 volunteers are going to take part in a World first event, that is set to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health, on Friday 22nd November until Saturday 23rd November.
Using Google Hangouts as the base and streaming live to YouTube, people from around the World will be able to watch these volunteers as they talk for a solid 24 hours. No napping and no TV breaks allowed! Those watching will be able to get involved by asking questions for the volunteers to answer, taking part in the mental health quizzes being held and following the live Twitter feed too. Minds Like Ours is even hoping on some special guest appearances from mental health bloggers, experts and service users.
Raising awareness is such an important goal for those involved or living with mental health disorders. There is still so much stigma around many mental illnesses, particularly those that are less known about. The MiLO volunteers are hoping to tackle some of the more difficult questions, from personal experience, and help bust some of those common myths. We're not dangerous, we're not 'mad' and we're certainly not just making it all up.
So, what can be done to get involved?
There are many people desperate to get involved with this world first event; something which has never been seen before. Yet Minds Like Ours still needs all the help it can get! Whether you're a mental health service user, blogger or expert, you could be one of the very special guests. All you need is an internet connection and a web cam, the rest is easy peasy. You can join in for 5 minutes or try to battle it out for the whole 24 hours if you're brave enough.
If you're not keen on showing your face then you can help in many other ways. If you send out one simple tweet you could attract the attention of someone who knows nothing about mental health. They may tune in on the 22nd or 23rd November and find themselves learning something. What's to say they don't then pass that information onto someone else? Or send out their own tweet? That's the power of social media! Please spread the word and you will be a part of this incredible awareness campaign. You can follow Minds Like Ours on Twitter here.
Finally, there is a sponsorship page for those who wish to donate to the cause. As Minds Like Ours is run by those with mental health disorders, everyone is a volunteer and everyone is donating their own money to keep MiLO running. There are no rich board of directors and no paid employees, just a lot of people in the same boat donating their time and money. Donations will be used to help keep the site up and running and to push this amazing non-profit towards charity status; for which £5,000 needs to be raised.
This exciting and daring campaign is just a starter of things to come, with the directors talking about holding a sponsored talk for much longer than 24 hours. Just imagine how much awareness could be raised in 3 whole days of live talks? Although they'd definitely have to include some nap breaks then! There is also a 24 hour football match on the cards, plus a month o'fundraisers coming in 2014 too. Add this to the Mad Hatter's Tea Parties up and down the country (the first one was recently held in London, with one in Manchester scheduled for early next year) - and it's difficult to believe that this mental health non-profit has only been around for 4 months.
Make sure you join the Minds Like Ours volunteers on Friday 22nd November from 6pm until Saturday 23rd November at 6pm. The link to the YouTube stream will be announced just before, on Twitter. Find out more info and get involved here.