Fighting the Stigma of Depression - From Space

Photograph: Teri Pengilley for The Guardian

Photograph: Teri Pengilley for The Guardian

Hussain Manawer, an outstanding 26-year-old Muslim from Essex, has given Depression Army the honor of interviewing him prior to his travels to outer space. Hussain has dedicated this future trip to space in 2018, which he won for his spoken word poem at the 2015 One Young World summit in Bangkok, to everyone who lives with mental health problems.

Below are his answers from our Q & A.

Enjoy and please share!

Click here for Hussain’s latest poetry release 'I'm Ashamed'

Q1: What do you want people suffering from mental health illnesses to know?

It's completely normal, there is nothing wrong with it and you haven't done anything wrong! Please reach out to someone. I know it’s hard but it will be the best thing you ever do, and take slow and steady steps to ensure a better quality of life for yourself because you really deserve it. 

Q2: How do you believe the stigma surrounding mental health can be dealt with? What do you think communities need to tackle this health issue?

Through talking and education. Education is one of the most vital things for us to grasp and fully take advantage of. It has so many powers within it we can't overlook it. As communities we need to come together and use interfaith groups as a way to breakdown barriers between us and unite us. 

Q3: What factors do you personally think contribute to mental health illness? 

Erm, I think each individual case of mental health is so bespoke to the person it's very difficult to say. Judging from the scenarios close to me and my people I would say abuse of drugs and alcohol certainly doesn't help, along with witnessing trauma from an early age. 

Q4: What advice would you give to those of us suffering with mental illness now? 

You have to stay strong and understand what you’re going through will not consume or overtake you if you don't let it! 

Q5:  How has preparing to go to space impacted your mental health?

My own mental health not as much, but it has allowed me to spark conversation for loads of people and for that I'm very happy!! 

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