World Mental Health Day

I went into journalism wanting to be Laura Barton. I loved her writing in the Guardian, I still do. At university in Durham, my friends and I would always turn to her stuff first. On Mondays, we’d sit in Riverside Cafe and pore over the (then massive – oh how things change!) jobs section in Media Guardian and plot our move from the north of England to Fleet Street.

My reason for wanting to be a journalist was that I wanted to entertain people. I had a lovely vision of having a column somewhere, which luckily didn’t happen, because when I was in my early 20s I used even more adjectives than I do now. The one thing I didn’t particularly want to do was to use my life as the basis for features. Again, how things change.

In the last few years, I have been incredibly lucky to be able to cover stories that really matter to me. Sometimes, I’ve used my own experiences. In the cases of a new cancer day unit at Guy’s Hospital (I cannot wait to hear what their cancer centre is like – it sounds amazing), and speaking out about mental illness, I don’t mind at all.

When you speak about an aspect of your health, particularly one with such unsexy connotations attached to it as mental health has, you end up being called ‘brave’. This is a lovely thing to have people think, but it is complete nonsense. In speaking out about depression, and my experiences of it, I am being entirely selfish. I just want people to know more about it, and hopefully, to be able to reach people who might feel incredibly isolated.

I recently wrote a piece for Grazia about my experiences of depression, and I attach a copy here for you to read – sorry about the scanning, that’s never been my forté.

Hope you enjoy it, but most importantly, I hope it makes you think about mental health problems in a new light. Everyone will be affected by them at some point, whether individually, or through a friend or loved one. Let’s break the stigma.

www.mind.org.uk

Click to enlarge:

Grazia depression piece - Kat Brown1

Grazia depression piece - Kat Brown2

Thank you, Kerrang!

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About 12 years ago now, I remember my sixth form boyfriend enthusing wildly about the band Biffy Clyro. We shared a lot of musical interests – or rather, I’d stopped only listening to Suede, Britpop and 60s compilations and started listening to his – but their name was so curious I chalked them up as yet another one of his adored comedy ska bands, and went back to my Idlewild albums.

But it turns out I should have paid more attention. Not that I would have known back then, with minimal dial-up internet, and phones that could only store 10 text messages at one time – then, all you knew about bands was what went into your favourite magazines. And back when I read and loved Kerrang! (I even worked on their website briefly), I just wanted to read what inspired the bands I loved.

I wish I had had this week’s Biffy Clyro feature to read when I was 18. Or 17. or 16, 15, 19, 21, 22, any of the years when I was a Kerrang! reader crippled with the absolute mortifying hell that is depression: undiagnosed, and then diagnosed but only sporadically treated. But I am so utterly thrilled that this generation gets to have that. Continue reading