Mental health activist uses Twitter hashtag to battle depression and offer help

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Mental health activist uses Twitter hashtag to battle depression and offer help

Eleanor Segall takes to social media to ask other users how their condition affects them while offering support

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Eleanor Segall
Eleanor Segall

A Jewish mental health campaigner has taken to Twitter in her battle against depression, allowing others to share their experiences and receive support.

Eleanor Segall launched the ‘#MyDepressionMeans’ hashtag this week, after “struggling” with the condition, while offering a chance for others to “feel less alone”.

The hashtag, which has been used over 400 times since its launch on 17 December, began with Eleanor saying Depression meant “I get up later than normal and feel hopeless”.

After being retweeted more than 140 times, others used the trend to describe how the condition affected them.

One social media user said depression made them “become a more understanding, objective and non judgemental person”, while another wrote it made them feel “too much or nothing at all. An all encompassing numbness or an avalanche of negative thoughts, neither that I can control.”

Other tweets spoke about someone’s battle with depression which led to them “attempting suicide and being forced into the hospital by the police” and that it meant “pain. Torture. Doubt. Self destructive behaviour.”

Speaking to Jewish News, Eleanor said she started the trend “because I was at home feeling a little isolated with my depression. I have bipolar disorder, so sometimes my depression and anxiety can get bad and I work from home.

I wanted to create a safe space for people to share their own experiences of depression online, especially during these cold, dark winter months when so many are struggling. I have been active on Twitter for some time now and there is such a positive, supportive family like community for those of us with mental health issues.”

She said the hashtag gave her and others an opportunity to share their experiences, and welcomed the backing of mental health organisations such as  Rethink Mental Illness, the Mental Health Foundation, the Shaw Mind Foundation and No Panic.

“Some of those who had shared had done so for the first time and that makes it so rewarding for them and for me. The initial tweet has been seen over 50,000 times and I am so proud of this impact and that people continue to share it. It means a lot to me to know I am not alone and that we can discuss this openly on social media and help one another. ‘

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