The term ‘mental health’ encapsulates a lot in modern society. We hear it being used to talk about a variety of illnesses, including depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s also a term connected to more circumstantial struggles that people can encounter as they go through life, like stress, grief or loneliness.
All of these health issues bring with them unique and complex challenges, and no two individual struggles are the same. Yet any challenge we may go through, and any mental illness we may suffer from, we all have one common ally: talking. The simple act of reaching out and talking to someone, be they a loved one, a professional, or someone who shares in similar experience, can go a long way to bringing us out of our darkest moments.
This is where GibSams comes in. If you’ve come across their work, or taken an interest in them yourself, you will know that they work tirelessly to help people reach out to one another, reminding us all that#ItsOkToTalk. Those individuals who have trained to become GibSams listeners are not professionals. They are no different to you and me – people from all backgrounds who know how important it is to give us the chance to talk, and the chance to be heard.
As simple as this idea is, it has the potential to make an invaluable difference. Encouraging people to open up and talk about their struggles gives society an opportunity. An opportunity to reverse a deeply rooted stigma against mental health, one which has forced so many around us to suffer in silence for far too long.
That is where we, the #KiliCrew, come in. We’re a team of six close friends who are dedicated to doing our best to promote GibSams’ message, and to reverse the real yet misplaced stigma surrounding mental health. Our goal is to spend this year doing everything we can, from holding fundraising events to sharing our voices on social media to help bring these issues to light. Coinciding with International Mental Health Day and GibSams’ first year anniversary this October, we will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania as the spearhead of our awareness campaign.
For us, there is a great symbolism in climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains in aid of mental health. This challenge will push us not only to our physical limits, but to our mental limits too. Our hope is that by climbing Kilimanjaro we can prove that the mountains in front of us, no matter how high, can always be overcome. We can, hopefully, help society come to terms with the challenges and complexities of mental health, better equipping all of us to support and open up to those around us.
For us to succeed, we need your help. We need Gibraltar to know who we are, and we need to let our voice grow as loud as it can. If you’d like to get involved, a simple share of this post would be a great start to us getting our voices heard. We are active on Facebook (click for our page), Twitter, and Instagram too. Reach out in any way you wish and join a conversation we all need to have. We look forward to having you on this journey with us!