At just 24 years old, You Tube Vlogger Zoe Sugg, or Zoella as she’s more commonly known, has achieved a lot. She’s got millions of followers on her social media channels, has launched her own beauty range (Zoella Beauty) at Superdrug and will soon have her debut novel, Girl Online, published. But personally, I feel her latest project is possibly her greatest accolade to date.
Yesterday, Stephen Fry announced on Twitter that Zoella has been revealed as mental health charity Mind’s first ever digital ambassador. In the past, Zoe has been quite open about her struggles with anxiety, regularly writing about it openly on her blog and also uploading videos to her You Tube channel.
Her sudden fame, which she’s no doubt worked incredibly hard to get, has been overwhelming at times for the YouTuber, and she regularly talks to her readers and shares views about this. And they listen, respond and open up back to her. Her video on dealing with panic attacks has been view 2.5 million times. Her anxiety Q&A video on anxiety? 2 million views. And that post I mentioned where she goes into depth about what anxiety is and how you can spot it, has over 700 comments – all from youngsters saying she’s opened their minds and made them realise what’s happening to them. How many 24 year olds do you know have that sort of reach?
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) October 9, 2014
As someone who has faced the pains of anxiety and depression before, this is incredible to witness. Why? Because through admiring their role model and watching her open up, these young girls and boys are finding the courage to talk about their own struggles and this whole generation, for whom for them Zoella is one of the biggest stars and icons, are learning that it’s perfectly okay to feel like this. It’s absolutely normal to have worries and anxieties and it’s perfectly fine and okay to talk to someone about them and get the help and support they need. And for this, I applaud her.
The news was announced just a day before Mental Health Awareness Day, which aims to make everyone aware that we each have mental health and we all need to look after it as well as our physical health. In the UK, there are around 850,000 young boys and girls who have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, that’s anything from anxiety to depression.
As part of her new role with Mind, Zoe has launched a new initiative called #DontPanicButton, where she’s encouraging people who are facing anxiety and their family and friend’s to wear a red button to show support and solidarity. She’s also encouraging people to show pictures of themselves wearing their red buttons, to show others that they are not alone. This may seem like something little in in the grand scale of mental health, but the fact Zoe has over 2 million followers on Twitter, means this will become an incredible social media initiative, which has the potential to soar and reach millions of young girls and boys, and that is amazing.
I’ve always been a fan of Zoe, ever since I started blogging in 2011, but to see her use her incredible influence for something as amazing as this, to help raise awareness of something that we are still facing and battling stigmas around, is incredible and I feel a new-found respect and admiration for her. Because when Zoella does something, everyone pays attention.
To get involved with the initiative, make sure you upload a picture of yourself on Twitter wearing your red button, using the hashtag #DontPanicButton. And remember, 1 in 4 of us will suffer with mental health problems at one time in our lives, so you’re definitely, 100% not alone.
If you are struggling with a mental health issue, get in touch with Mind by clicking here. You can ring them on: 0300 123 3393 or text on:86463.