By now, 2020 is well underway, and what better way to start the year than with yet another creative project? That’s right, my good friend Vikki and I have been busy over the first few weeks of the year, conceptualising and creating our new mental health podcast ‘Mentality Matters’.
Mentality Matters started as a hungover idea on the Friday morning after the most recent general election. Upon waking up fully clothed on Vikki’s sofa with my face covered in cakey make up, I was unsurprised to discover that I felt quite sorry for myself. After twenty minutes of wallowing I was joined by Vikki; she looked exactly as I felt, and I knew from her face that we were both feeling anxious about the result of the evening before. We didn’t know the outcome for certain yet, but the exit polls that were released twelve hours prior had encouraged the night’s excessive drinking.
Vikki went to make the tea as I sat in a tomb of blankets with the silently assigned job of checking social media. Conservatives. Landslide. I was unable to process the result, and so I put down my phone and accepted steamy chamomile into my shaking palms. We were both quiet for a minute, but finally I broke the silence with a “what are we going to do?” – perhaps, to you, the question may seem dramatic, but to somebody who suffers from extreme mental illness, another five years of Conservative government is terrifying.
It dawned on us both at the same time just how much we may struggle in the coming years, and then we recalled how much we have already been struggling. We spent 45 minutes speaking about ourselves and our friends who have all been battling with the current healthcare system. Friends that have been denied disability living allowance, finding themselves being publicly humiliated by official ‘panels’ instead. Family who aren’t physically able to speak up and are already on limited resources – what will happen to them when the Autism budget is cut to zero? We mourned the loss of the NHS and felt scared for the people who aren’t as lucky as us, the ones with no privilege that have been doomed to suffer.
Slowly, and not without consequence, the alcohol haze started to lift, and instead of obsessing over the obstacles that were to come, we began to talk instead about all the things we could do to help. We spoke for a while and ran over many ideas, until Vikki offhandedly mentioned creating a mental health podcast. Just like that, my curiosity was piqued – the dynamic of mine and Vikki’s friendship has always been one that involved in depth discussions of mental illness, past trauma and the coping mechanisms we use to get through the day to day; the idea of expressing these thoughts to the public and inviting a discussion about the stigma of mental illness was one I wanted to develop. Unfortunately, at the time I did not believe it would manifest.
As weeks passed more discussions about the podcast took place, and eventually, in more stable and sober conditions, Vikki and I came together to create Mentality Matters. As I write this up the first episode has been released, and already I have received comments positively reinforcing our decision to create the show. We are still in our very first moments of conception, and this world is new to us, but we hope that the more we talk the more people will come to us and tell us about their experience with mental illness, whether it be professional, personal or other, and that in time we can create a cohesive family environment where people feel safe to come to us about anything. But, for now all I ask is that you head over to the link below and give us a listen.
Creative Team instagram handles
@vikkipask (content creator)
@corin_schenks (recording, production, music)