By Micha Frazer-Carroll – Editor In Chief
CN: Mention of depression,
I am so ready to talk. Like many others with experiences of mental ill health, I have been quiet about my struggles since the day they began, or only let them out in murmurs for fear of how people would react. But keeping shtum takes a lot of time and energy. And it also breeds shame, for something that frankly, I don’t want to feel ashamed about anymore. It’s time we really started talking. Not in bits and pieces, not just in footnotes or content notes or bloody notes on your iPhone, but on our own platform, in our own space.
Welcome to Blueprint.
We’re a new online platform and print magazine that aims to stir up real, proper discourse around young people’s mental health. It’s no secret that mental health problems are rife in our generation, but at the same time, in some sort of weird paradoxical twist, it is a secret; maybe like one of those family secrets that everyone knows about yet somehow still stays buried for decades. But we’re a group of creatives who are mentioning it now. We’re ready for some people to be uncomfortable about it – but it’s an uncomfortable conversation that must be had.
“In terms of ethos, we believe that there’s no point in talking about these issues unless we take an intersectional approach.”
Enriching the range of outlets and support systems available to young people can only do good. Taboos surrounding mental health as well as a tendency to shut down and isolate oneself in times of crisis can make it difficult to reach out to connect with those closest to us; so we want to start an ongoing dialogue and community that serves as both a place to vent, and a source of solidarity when you’re alone in your room at 2am and feeling low.
Publishing articles, poetry, fiction and art, we aim to uncover every inch of young people’s experiences with mental illness; all the stigmatised bits, the ‘am I the only one?’ bits, the self-care-y bits and the more serious stuff that often gets glazed over or edited out. We want to share our favourite motivational morning playlists and give tips on feel-good room decor – because the little things matter. But we also want to talk about meds, self-harm and suicide, because so few others seem to be broaching these topics, and pretending they aren’t realities doesn’t help anyone.
In terms of ethos, we believe that there’s no point in talking about these issues unless we take an intersectional approach. Expect exploration of how race, class, disability and gender interact with our experiences of mental health; whether it’s how stereotypes of hyper-masculinity make speaking up difficult for black men, or how PMS affects depression in those who menstruate.
We’ll have an online presence, a print publication, and a few self-care events dotted around the year, with the aim of establishing a culture of checking up on and looking out for each other. And we want you to either read our stuff, or create your own work for us, whichever makes you feel better.
We’re not your doctors, counsellors or parents. We’re mostly just young people talking about real stuff we’ve been through. We’re not a magic solution to the complex and numerous causes of mental illness amongst youth populations. But starting a sustainable conversation about mental health, in a place of our own, where we’re free to speak our minds and take up space, doesn’t seem like a bad place to start.
Wishing you good mental health in the New Year.
Blueprint is sponsored by O2 Think Big and the NUS Women’s Campaign. Special thanks to Hareem Ghani, Audrey Sebatindira and Sarah Benham for making it possible.
Give Blueprint’s Facebook page a like here to stay up to date with our content as well as the quality memes and comics we share.
You can pitch or submit to Blueprint by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to send along any questions to the same address.
If you’re a creative type, join Blueprint’s contributors’ group to stay up to date on commissions here.