It's been a while since our last #MDpubquiz interview series. But we're back today for a #ThrowbackThursday with Oli Monks! Oli is the founder of Place with Purpose, which promotes autism friendly co-working spaces. He is also a TEDx Speaker and a Mental health and Autism advocate on The HuffPost UK.
Oli took some time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with us and remember our last #MDpubquiz.
How did you find the pub quiz? I genuinely really enjoyed it! I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect from the event and came along by myself but the room was full of friendly faces and people who care about the future of mental health. Plus, any chance to get involved in some puns is an evening well spent (proud member of the Mental Elves team)!
A Highlight of the evening? I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the competitive person in me that really appreciated a pub quiz victory. Winning a copy of Charlotte Reed’s book “May the thoughts be with you” was a real bonus (thoroughly recommend people get a copy!) and who could forget seeing people racing around a courtyard on space hoppers, everyone was committed to the cause!
A lot of conversations in the mental health sector lately have talked about parity of esteem between physical and mental illnesses. I think if we can reach the point where we treat them both on an equal standing that should be a very good thing.
How do you think we can help to break stigma around mental health? A lot of conversations in the mental health sector lately have talked about parity of esteem between physical and mental illnesses. I think if we can reach the point where we treat them both on an equal standing that should be a very good thing. In terms of breaking a stigma around mental health, I think that some of the most effective ways we can help are just through discussions and shared experiences. Many of the challenges seem to arise when we just haven’t listened or understood when someone is talking about their own mental health. Whilst I know there is still a huge amount to be done on this, I think there’s been some amazing progress in how people talk about and view mental health in the UK.
Do you think digital could help with that? If yes, how? Absolutely. There’s been a lot made at the moment about social media in particular and the damaging effect that it can have on anyone’s mental health. It’s something I’ve talked about quite often with friends and now there’s been a few reports published saying the same thing. It is two sides of the same coin but one of the best things about digital and social in particular, is that we can communicate with so many people quickly and regardless of location. That could be through blog posts or Twitter chats for example which provide people who have experience with mental issues to have a support network online but also the platform for them to share with their own friends what their own experience with mental health has been.
I think one of digital’s big opportunities is to help in addressing any issues of isolation and self-worth
How do you think digital can help people with mental health issues? I think one of digital’s big opportunities is to help in addressing any issues of isolation and self-worth. Digital provides the opportunity for people to share their own stories, support others who are going through their own mental health issues and to do that, without having to rely upon doing it all face-to-face.
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