The power of shared experience #speakoutlikebrenda The #speakoutlikebrenda campaign was started by Salford University student Anna Mason in response to an assignment to create a campaign for the book ‘Me, Myself & Bipolar Brenda’ written by Natasha Naomi Rea. Natasha has type 2 bipolar, she is an ambassador for Bipolar UK and is passionate about raising awareness and ending the stigma around mental health, especially bipolar. Through her book she wanted to get people talking about how they’re feeling and encourage people to start journaling. Speaking to Anna she explained to us that she came up with the #SpeakOutLikeBrenda campaign as she thought it would encourage people to speak out like Brenda/Natasha did in the book! The campaign started as a journaling challenge to help people put their thoughts into words. “Some people may not know where to start when they want to write a journal so for each day the journal challenge was running, there was a different thought or idea people could write about!” says Anna. The journal challenge was launched on World Bipolar Day and ran for 7 days (30th March – 7th April). Each day participants were asked to take a photo and write a message on a particular topic for example “on my bad days…” The likes of John Bradley (Game of Thrones), Steve Evets (Brassic), Ralph Ineson (Chernobyl), Dean Andrews (Life on Mars), Liam Fox (Emmerdale), Mel Walters (Gavin and Stacey) and Catherine Tyldesley (Coronation Street) have all shown their support by recording and sharing monologues on social media. When Bipolar UK found out about the campaign, we were keen to get involved and show our support. CEO Simon Kitchen said “Journaling and monitoring your mood is a good way to help understand your condition and put coping mechanisms in place to manage it better. As a charity we recognise the power of shared experience and this campaign has brought people together to talk to about bipolar in a compassionate, relatable way.” This week in support of the #speakoutlikebrenda campaign, Bipolar UK will be sharing the monologues and encouraging others to get involved and help raise awareness of bipolar. We will also be sharing our top tips on how to start journaling and the benefits of journaling on your mental health. When coping with the symptoms of bipolar disorder, journaling can help you make sense of your emotions and move toward stability. While research specifically on writing and bipolar is hard to come by, a growing body of literature has demonstrated that purposeful writing benefits physical and emotional health. Below is the video of Bipolar UK's CEO, Simon Kitchen being interviewed by Anna Mason, together with his monologue contribution to the #speakoutlikebrenda campaign. Watch all of the monologues, by some fantastic actors, on the 'Me Myself and Bipolar Brenda Mental Health' blog on YouTube.