Inspirational Human Aspect project is Banbury bound

Depression and other mental illnesses will effect half the adult population at some point during their lives
Depression and other mental illnesses will effect half the adult population at some point during their lives

The non profit organisation that aims to fill the mental health gap between professional services and everyday people will be in Banbury next month and wants to here your inspiring story.

Since is inception in 2016 by Jimmy Westerheim, the Human Aspect online video library has swelled to the hundreds which, in turn, have been viewed by millions of users.

The videos are from regular people from all walks of life, living in countries across the globe, who have, in some way shape or form, overcome or managed to live with a mental health issue, be it depression, bipolar disorder or social anxiety and shyness.

Although founded and based in Olso, Norway, the project boasts numerous volunteers, one of which is former Banbury resident Maxie Earle, son of Spit 'n' Sawdust Gym owner Dave Earle.

Maxie said: "I got involved about a year ago. I move out to Olso almost two years ago and I was looking for something rewarding to do outside of my work and meet people.

"What the founder wanted to do was find a way to connect people. In this world of social media and everyone being online the thing that we are missing the most is that connection.

"The concept is, for example, if you were going through a period of depression you can sign into the website and view videos of other people who have gone through depression and how they overcame it and hopefully that will help you step out from your own depression."

The videos, free to access on the Human Impact website, range in length from a minute upwards and there accessibility, in more ways than one, has been a powerful aspect of their appeal.

Maxie said: "It's really hard to relate to a therapist or doctor who hasn't got anything in common with you who are trying to help you. How about you listen to someone of a similar age, same gender with the same experiences and they will tell you how they overcame that experience. You have someone you can connect to and feel understands you.

He added: "One of the biggest problem mental health problems is not being understood and feeling alone."

Additionally they have proved so successful in helping people living with mental illness overcome their own that they are now being used by the medical field and other distinguished bodies.

Maxis said: "It's gone from what was a small project to working with the US Embassy, Unicef and the University of Oslo Psychology department are using it to teach their students. We are also working with Facebook. we have coined a new term 'spending positive time on Facebook' and are trying to shift the way people use social media and the way they see mental health."

Closer to home Dave Earle, a long time champion of mental health awareness and treatment, has embraced the project, himself recording a video about racism during his childhood and will use the videos as an extra resource during his Tribus sessions.

Dave said: "Linking up with Human Aspect is good. I hope we can grow together. At the moment we are just a resource for each other bu they like what we do and I like what they do."

Maxie is in Banbury towards the end of the month until early November and is keen to hear from Banbury people who wish to tell their experiences with, and overcoming mental health issues.

He himself recorded a video about his struggle with psoriasis and the social anxiety it caused growing up. The biggest reactions he has had are from people in the Banbury area.

Maxis said: "The stories have the biggest effect on the people near to them."

To find out more visit the Human Aspect website or visit their Facebook page.