Becoming a mental health advocate can include big and small actions – it all matters!
I am Brendan O’Keefe and I am your mental health day advocate. Feel free to reach out anytime. hello[at]iamtakingamentalhealthday.org
After my father who had a diagnosed mental illness and struggled in many ways died aged 63 when I was just 33, I looked for something that I could dedicate my later life to, and that something was mental health advocacy.
I am a versatilist with over 20 years in creative roles in music, fashion, community services, web development, eLearning, perfumery and digital media.
In late 2018 and in early in 2019 I found things a little overwhelming as I had numerous other times in my life. I took the opportunity to speak with an EAP provider numerous times.
You don’t need a diagnosed mental illness to feel the need to take a mental health day, it can simply stem from stress, relationship problems, burn out, bullying and numerous other factors that impact our ability to function optimally.
One day I posted the hashtag #iamtakingamentalhealthday in our organisation Slack channel where we notify the team of our daily goings-on and absences.
The concept for this website and campaign came to me a short while later while on holiday in Malaysia with my daughter in October 2019.
I immediately thought to look online for a variety of mental health day hashtags and stories. I was shocked at how little there was out there.
I thought that there would be some power in promoting the use of hashtags which encourage disclosure and support for those taking mental health days.
Use these hashtags to show support, disclose your mental health day/self-care day and show support for others taking these days.
#iamtakingamentalhealthday.#iatamhd #itookatmentalhealthday #ineedamentalhealthday #selfcareissmart #isupportamentalhealthday #wesupportamentalhealthday
The basis of the website is a set of questionnaires in a journal format based on past, present and future mental health days.
Along with these tools to empower individuals are these hashtags, branded apparel, useful resources and a means for individuals to share their stories, support each other, and break the stigma.
For organisations to declare that they consider themselves as mentally healthy organisations that support mental health days. #wesupportmentalhealthdays