THE BLOG

Vloggers Changing the Dialogue on Mental Health

02/11/2015 01:24 pm ET | Updated Apr 13, 2015

Vlogging has become an art form, an expressive sphere of thinking on matters of importance, and sometimes the unimportant. Vloggers the world over are seeking to give an experience to their viewers, insight into their lives, and to be outspoken advocates for others. There are many outspoken advocates but to do it efficiently with balance, compassion, empathy, and a voice that harmonizes the relationship with the viewer is quite difficult.

In the past year and the beginning of this year many outspoken advocates and young people have come out in support of mental health initiatives. JacksGap, which is a Youtube channel by Jackson and Finn Harries, recently posted a video to show their support for the mental health community. Jackson was prompted to make the video after discussing a mental health issue with a friend, and introspectively looking at his own issues which were similar.

Jackson and Finn Harries are 21-year-old twins from the United Kingdom with a viewership of about 4 million people subscribing to their vlogging channel. Not quite lightweights in the vlogging community. If anything their advocacy gives hope to the millions of people around the world struggling with mental illness because it shows a new generation of young people who are not content with hiding illness in the closet.

Another Youtuber I have had the privilege to get to know is Sarah Hawkinson. She is a undergrad student and loves her psychology major, understands the field, and understands her motivations for studying this. In her Youtube videos she cites her mother as inspiration due to her mother always having a calming way to help her understand issues in her life. She wants to help others who may not have that type of relationship with someone by giving them that same type of atmosphere of caring, impartiality, and compassion. Her videos about psychology are epic because they express in a balanced and fair way the intricacies of the field of psychology without bias. In her videos she often states she would like to "fight stigmatization" of mental illness.

On the consumer side of mental health issues Jonny Benjamin of the United Kingdom has been producing videos for over two years and is a well-known advocate in the U.K. Jonny Benjamin made a documentary two years ago that went viral showing how schizoaffective disorder manifested itself in his life by revisiting the areas that the symptoms began showing up.

Recently, a Youtuber that goes by "theschizophrenic diaries" has made numerous videos interviewing his family and others about their experiences in understanding mental illness, stigma, and how it affects them. His videos show pointedly how mental health issues are encountered in the family unit, how they affect the lives of those with it, and offer encouragement in understanding the processes of a support network.

Each and every one of these individuals whether consumer, advocate, practitioner, student are brave and building a new world where stigma is being put away, closets are no longer rife with hiding mental health issues, and people can believe in themselves again. These young Youtubers are doing more than creating videos for consumption; they're building the future of our world. If the future is built with these people there is hope for the world, and hope for people with mental health issues. These Youtubers are more than "content creators" but instead they are the heroes of a generation.

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