When it comes to our mental health, we could all do with a little support. Whether struggling with a specific diagnosis, or experiencing more transient feelings that are having a negative impact on your life, it’s crucial to find healthy ways to copes. New website Head Talks aims to support mental wellbeing by providing a safe online space where you can create your own personal playlists of inspirational talks aimed to inform, inspire and empower. Acknowledging that we are all unique and find our inspiration and sense of wellbeing from many different sources, so Head Talks allows you to create your own personalised toolbox to maintain a healthy balance.
The website was founded by Oliver Chittenden, who has had issues with his own mental health. Recognising that it can be hard to seek out help, and that people still face stigma when they do so, he wanted to create a digital platform that ‘gathered together content in an inspiring and accessible way for people to learn about the many practical things we can do to feel better about ourselves and be better version of ourselves. In fact the premise was that this was for everyone, not just for those that struggle.’
There’s a lot of variety in terms of content – talks, videos, podcasts, and things to read – which was important to Oliver. He recognises that the ‘one size fits all’ approach simply does not work. ‘We have to go on a journey, try things out, learn and be inspired to add resources for our wellbeing especially today with so many pressures’, he says. ‘We need to adapt with the times.’ The toolbox function at Head Talks allows you to create your own playlists tailored to your ‘Head Talk’ journey, and these can also be shared. You can also look at alternative therapies and ideas, allowing you to support your mental health in ways that work for you.
It’s an accessible space for people to come to share experiences and speak honestly. Oliver was keen to avoid an overly academic or medical tone, which can be overwhelming for people. One of the main benefits is feeling part of a community. ‘People feel like they are in a room with a therapist or someone talking honestly about a lived experience of mental health. Loneliness in our society is rife – with Head Talks you can feel less lonely especially if you are in crisis or struggling.’
Of course, sometimes more professional medical help is needed. Oliver doesn’t pretend to have all the the answers. ‘Head Talks is informative and hopefully will act as a springboard towards someone taking action based on having heard a podcast or watched a ‘Head Talk’. If in crisis, one should always go to their GP and share their problems, which, in 10 minutes is challenging, but it is a start.’ But with the challenges of mental health funding an overstretched NHS, there certainly is a place for sites such as HeadTalks. ‘These types of initiatives that are free of bureaucracy are vital,’ says Oliver. ‘It is a place to feel part of a wider community and feel less lonely when times are tough.’