By Micha Frazer-Carroll
CN: Trump presidency,
Happy February all!
What a tempestuous month it has been, both personally and politically. Starting with the personal: the reception of our first month of publishing online content was really quite staggering. Blueprint is undoubtedly still taking its first baby steps – the latter half of 2016 was all about developing our infrastructure and getting in formation – but it’s starting to feel like something more solid as the days go on. The reason why I founded this magazine was because I wanted to help people, but I’d expected that this would be difficult to measure in practice. How wrong I was.
The first day we went live, I had an acquaintance message in to say that our first piece had inspired them to open up to a close friend about their mental health problems, thanking us for giving them the courage. Now this kind of message is pretty much a daily occurrence. Alongside our more experienced journalists, we’re committed to working with and supporting new writers, lots of whom have expressed joy in being given the opportunity to think critically about their mental health for the first time and explore how they can help others by sharing their stories. We’re also having lots of fun on social media, having smashed 1200 likes on our Facebook and getting picked up by London Young Greens. It seems we were right in thinking that people really want to talk about mental health. But just as importantly, people want to listen.
Politically – lots of the Blueprint team are feeling tired. But we’re also working together to build each other up. In times of such political ugliness, finding beauty in solidarity and supporting our peers feels more important than ever. It’s an unfortunate truth that the Trump Presidency will have a marked effect on the mental health of the U.S. population and worldwide. There are tangible and observable effects; friends and family who are landlocked and unable to visit loved ones, along with people having less freedom over what they do with their own bodies.
And there are knock-on effects for those not necessarily directly impacted – the media storm surrounding Trump and every insidious step he takes towards fascism can feel inescapable, and overwhelming. Last month, Georgia Elander wrote: “When Donald Trump won the US election, I turned off the radio and stopped reading the news. Hearing about it all was just too exhausting”. I feel like exhaustion and depletion are pertinent concepts that we’ve already started to hone in on during our self-care series, and we’re going to be exploring them further this month. Along with this, in the face of Trump’s bigotry and discrimination we’re going to be signal blasting disability, ethnicity, and sexuality, and how they affect our everyday lives.
Other plans for the coming month include finally going to print (!) and meeting up irl for the first time, to chat about how feminism and mental health are concepts that are deeply intertwined. Whilst our mental health can often affect our ability to get out to public spaces, particularly social ones, it feels important to make sure we have places to talk out loud as well as online and in print. So if talking (or even just listening to others’ feelings and ideas) is your thing, come along and take part – we can’t wait to see you there.
In the meantime, look after yourselves. Sending love and positive vibes for February.
All the best,
Editor in Chief