See Change Ambassador: Gormla Hughes tells her story
May is Green Ribbon Month. It’s time to wear a Green Ribbon. Time to open up the conversation around mental health and help reduce stigma. In this week’s 3Ts Blog, Gormla Hughes See Change Ambassador, is our guest author and tells us about her experience working on the See Change campaign.
See Change Ambassadors
See Change Ambassadors play a vital role in the See Change campaign. They publicly share their own lived experiences with mental illness to help break down prejudices. But what is a See Change Ambassador? Who are they and what do they do? Here, Gormla Hughes shines a light on how she got involved with the campaign and tells us about her work to help reduce mental health stigma.
May 2013: I was at the bus stop, heading to work. I saw a man, who for the third day in a row, was wearing a Green Ribbon pinned to his lapel. So, curious, I asked him what it stood for. When he told me it was used as a way to open up conversations around mental health, I remember thinking—finally.
I knew I wanted to contribute to this campaign in some way. The space I came from was a time when I was told I would never work or have friends; or that I could even be sectioned if I ever told anyone about my mental health. So, I did a Google search and I found the See Change forum, where I left a comment. This was the first time I’d acknowledged my own mental health diagnosis on a public platform. And I felt like Zena the Warrior! Some months later, See Change contacted me and asked me if I would consider becoming a See Change Ambassador. I was delighted and agreed.
See Change then provided me with Social Media and Media training for the role. I learned how to engage with the media and that I have control over what I say or don’t say. I listened to testimonies from other Ambassadors on the impact of sharing very private aspects of yourself with others. And, of course, I learned about the emotional supports available from See Change itself.
Since then, I have spoken in businesses, CAS Spin-offs. I’ve been interviewed for print news outlets and written about my own experiences of living with a mental health diagnosis. I’ve even written some film reviews with themes around mental health.
Initially, it was nerve wracking to open up about my own mental health. But my experience as a See Change Ambassador has empowered me and given me a confidence I didn’t have before. I’ve been given an opportunity to contribute to making a difference, to changing the landscape and the stigma around mental health diagnosis. Along the way, I’ve met some of the most wonderful, creative, smart humans, ever! And that feels special to me.
Gormla Hughes, Author