Today is the official relaunch of the Time to Change Wales Reach Out campaign and I was honoured to be asked to take part in the promotion. My own experiences – specifically in dealing with depression for 20 years – have provided plenty of opportunities to reach out to others as well as being fortunate enough for others to reach out to me.
The campaign starts off with a social media launch featuring a range of resources including a video that I was asked to “star” in with my friends and family who had been there for me, who had reached out to me at my most desperate times. After consulting with my loved ones, I signed up for the experience and spoke with the film company who would be producing the short video.
It was a standard Sunday in South Wales; beauty in the early morning tinted by looming clouds. The film crew turned up – all five of them crammed into one van – for an early start filming down by the Loughor Estuary, near Llanelli. My wife was amazingly supportive even if we did spend most of the morning talking about me!
Just before lunch, we met my father in a nearby park and he brought my young nephew and nieces. I felt it was important to show that even the presence of younger family members can have an important effect on your mental health. Playing football and hide-and-seek while the cameras circled around us certainly helped alleviate my anxiety. Even the sunshine joined us for this special occasion…
Soon it was back to my house for a spot of lunch then continuing with the filming. My father – who has been one of the most stable influences in my life – enjoyed a cup of tea and a biscuit while the crew captured us watching football on the TV. It was such a simple “day in the life” scene but my experience has shown that it is the smallest acts that can make a real difference.
Once my family left, I sat down with the crew for an interview then the day was done (nobody used the phrase “it’s a wrap” to my disappointment). The amazing team packed up their equipment and jumped back into their van. A few days later, I had an email with a sneak peek at the finished video.
The experience on that day was very positive and the whole team involved in the campaign have shown incredible commitment to this worthwhile cause. My part was relatively small but it was good to see so many people coming together to promote an important campaign with such a simple message. Reaching out to someone is so simple yet so meaningful; for someone experiencing mental health problems, just a quick text, a friendly smile or a “how are you” is enough to make a real difference in their challenges.
So please, feel free to get involved in the campaign, visit www.reachout.wales to find out more and don’t forget to share your thoughts on social media. Together, we can make a real difference.