Today is World Mental Health day and a reminder to take care of our minds as well as our bodies. In this interview, we meet Kyle, who has started a clothing business to raise awareness of mental health problems and the stigma that still exists, especially for men. Every week, 84 men in the UK take their own lives. We can all do our bit to stop this from happening, here is what Kyle is doing…
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you have been up to?
My name is Kyle Stanger and I’m a 22 year old designer from London. I started Boys Get Sad Too just over a year ago as a hobby and since then, it’s become a full time job!
Where did the idea for your Boys Get Sad Too project come from?
Growing up, I was surrounded by people with mental health struggles and I also battled with some myself. At a young age, I saw mental health problems as an unavoidable part of life. Sadly, a few people around me ended up taking their own lives and I saw the devastating effect that this had. Often, there was a common dialogue that arose afterwards – ‘why did they do it? I had no idea they felt that way’. People were always so shocked, which shows that depression and other problems are not always outwardly visible. Someone can seem like the happiest person in the world, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fighting their own personal demons. Boys Get Sad Too started as a scribble in a notebook. It was not until I revisited those four words a few months later that I realised the impact they could have. I was tired of complaining about the issues and not doing anything, so I decided to take action and try and make a difference. That’s how BGST was born!
What reaction have you received from the message you have been putting out there?
The reaction I’ve received has been really amazing. I often have people messaging me saying how much they love the message, and that it helps them feel less alone. When I started, I wanted to raise awareness and open up conversation about the topic and I feel that so far, I’ve been successful in that. Instagram is our main platform and I like to post a range of different things from positive quotes to hard hitting statistics that make people stop and think. People are always very receptive – on our Instagram, there is a community of people taking about a somewhat taboo subject, which has inspired many to be open themselves. It goes to show just how supportive people can be towards each other.
You have had great success already, gaining exposure and support for your clothing brand, what are you plans for 2020 and beyond?
It’s been great so far! The main goal in future is to open up a pop up store and see how it goes. I love the idea of Boys Get Sad Too having a real physical existence, so having a pop up will allow us to consider whether a permanent shop is a good direction to go in. We also want to think about organising various events that will bring people together, but we’re still working on those ideas! Other than that, the main goal is (and always has been) to spread the message and change how people feel about the discussion surrounding mental health.
Finally, what is your tip of the day?
My top tip of the day is:
Always remember that no matter how hard or difficult or impossible things may seem. No matter how small the light at the end of the tunnel seems. Just stick in there and things will get better even if you can’t see it right now
To find out more and buy Boys Get Sad Too clothing visit: https://boysgetsadtoo.com/
10% of all Profits are donated to CALM CHARITY (The Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Follow the brand on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/boysgetsadtoostudio/
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