A woman tests out mental health advice she finds on the internet. All of it.
Self-help lists are great. Seeing them in action? Even better.
There's no shortage of self-help lists out there on the internet (and even this website). What's interesting, however, is that many of us don't actually get to see the suggestions in action.
So New Zealand woman Beth Humphrey came up with something a little different — the Great Mental Health Experiment.
Here's how it works: Every week, Beth takes a tip designed to reduce stress, take care of yourself, and just generally exist, and she puts it to the test.
And the best part? She's capturing it all on camera.
"I think people love to learn new things, but they want to learn in a way that is fun, personal, and easy to digest," she said. "I think the reason people are so drawn to these kinds of videos is that they are short, interesting, and to the point."
When it comes to mental health, your mileage may vary — and Beth understands that.
There's no one-size-fits-all fix for things like depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental illness. For some, the answers may lie in pharmaceuticals; for others, diet or exercise. That's part of what makes Beth's series so interesting: It's her trying to figure out what works for her.
"All the reactions, feelings, and reflections are all me! I'm not trying to sell these tips, but rather, testing them and giving my opinion," she says. "My experience will be different to someone else's, and that's cool!"
For example, the first video in the series follows Beth as she sees how something like baking affects her mood.
Other videos show her doing distress tolerance exercises...
...getting more sleep ...
...and experimenting a bit with animal therapy — all with varying levels of success (and that's kind of the point).
These types of open discussions help fight some of the stigma that goes along with addressing mental health issues and being willing to seek help.
And when it comes to her videos, Beth hopes to open up that gateway of conversation between friends, family, and medical professionals.
"I believe that my videos normalize mental health and create a healthy way to have conversation[s], bring awareness and teach new skills for those who may be struggling. Even if that’s just simply, 'Hey, I’m here, I know what you are going through, and here’s some things that might help.'"
It's an exercise in building empathy.
"So many people still believe that asking for help means you are soft or weak," she says. "And my response to that is: Be vulnerable! Talking about your feelings is not something to be ashamed of."
Still, that stigma exists. In 1996, a survey conducted by the National Mental Health Association found that 54% of people "think of depression as a sign of personal or emotional weakness." Years later, survey numbers are still pretty (no pun intended) depressing.
While Beth's Great Mental Health Experiment rolls on (check out her channel every Tuesday for a new episode), you can start your very own version.
No, maybe you won't gather a crew and document this on video (you're certainly welcome to, though!), but you can take some tips and put them into action.
For example, here's a great list of four tips for calming down. Here's a list of 13 things to do if someone you love lives with depression. Here's one with six top-notch tips for getting yourself out of a creative rut. And here's a list of three ways to become a more confident person.
Will everything on any of those lists work for you? Probably not. Still, if you find one thing that helps make your life less stressful and more enjoyable, isn't it all worth it?