Eleanor Segall started Be Ur Own Light in March 2016 to raise awareness and combat the stigma of anxiety and bipolar disorders. Now also regularly featuring pieces from guest bloggers with the same aims, Eleanor’s blog continues to provide a space for advice and support and has even led to the publication of her book Bring me to Light.
In our spotlight with Eleanor, we talk about how awareness of mental health issues is steadily growing and where work still needs to be done.
How do you describe what you do to other people?
I tell people that I have been running a mental health blog for the past three, almost four, years about my journey with bipolar disorder to break the stigma. I also have guest bloggers who write on any mental health-related topic, to provide as much information as possible on mental illness but also things like life trauma and stress. The blogs often give tips to help people. My blog helped me get into freelance journalism and write my book Bring me to Light (out this month with Trigger Publishing), so I am very grateful to it!
How much of a community is there around mental health bloggers?
I mainly mix in the Twitter mental health community, of which many people are bloggers, and we all talk a lot over there. On WordPress, I do have regular blog followers and they leave comments and we interact. The community is small but growing.
What’s the best thing about being a professional blogger (if you consider yourself to be one)?
I blog part-time but have been doing it for a number of years now – I consider myself a writer, in general.
The best thing is guest bloggers sending pitches or being invited to interesting mental health events. I also like that my blog can help other people struggling with their own mental illness.
What does the future of blogging look like?
I think there will always be a space for blogging – even as vlogging on Youtube and Instagram are taking off. It is hard to predict the future – but we could have more platforms rivalling WordPress.
It seems like mental health is attracting more attention in society recently, why do you think that is?
I believe there has been a sustained campaign by individuals, writers, campaigners, vloggers, bloggers, etc. to actively talk about it. The Royal family and celebrities talking about it has also really helped. We need to keep talking about it as well as putting more funding into services.
Are businesses/employers doing enough to support the mental health of their staff?
In a word – no. The law still doesn’t protect people with long-term mental illness, particularly during probation, and there is still a big stigma about sickness leave which has to change.
What’s the best mental health initiative you’ve seen?
There are so many. Jonny Benjamin MBE’s Find Mike campaign to find the man who saved him from suicide was pivotal and inspirational. The work of charities too such as Rethink Mental Illness, Time To Change and Mind is so important, including World Mental Health Day. Lastly, Hope Virgo’s Dump The Scales campaign for anorexia is so important and inspiring.
How do you work with PRs and brands?
I work with brands I believe in that match the outlook of the blog – Happiful Magazine, for example. PRs often send me press releases and sometimes I will review mental health books or self-care boxes. If you want to work with me, please email email@example.com.
What advice do you have for PRs looking to get in touch?
I am a mental health blogger, so please send me something relevant to this that I can include on the blog. I am also a 31-year-old woman, so anything around beauty or wellness is also good.
What other blogs do you read?
I love Anneli Roberts’ blog www.pigletish.com, Fiona Thomas at fionalikestoblog.com and Cara’s Corner by Cara Lisette. There are too many to list, but if it’s about mental health, I tend to read it! I recently found a great blog on bipolar on Twitter the other day and need to find it again!