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Want to know more about mental health?

As a college student, typically you seldom get to actually physically experience what you’re learning. About two weeks into my creative media course I was handed a piece of paper and told to write down my contact details and some things I enjoy doing or want to pursue in the future, this was all in aid of getting a suitable placement for work expeirence.

I won’t lie, I didn’t have a lot of hope. My head was filled with horror stories of people getting work experience that didn’t relate to their course in the slightest. Which was why I was so excited when my tutor told me I'd been offered a place to do work experience for Sarah at Tough Girl Challenges which entailed all of my interests.

I was even more thrilled when a week into my work experience Sarah invited Jennie and I to the studio to watch a live recording of 52%, a show she's a regular guest on!

Sarah on the couch at 52%!

On the way to the studio, Sarah briefed Jennie and I on the topic the ladies of 52% were going to cover, mental health. Almost everyone either knows someone, or suffers from some sort of mental illness and if they don’t, they’re lucky.

With mental health being something rather close to my heart I was more than happy to be watching people discuss it and help others. As we arrived at I was quite overwhelmed really, we’re all consumers of TV and movies but to actually see the setup, the studio and the work that goes into the production of something like that is immense.

There was a large couch where we sat and got some pictures, three cameras all set up and ready to film, lots of wires (I mean LOTS) and plenty of people doing their best to make the episode run as smoothly as possible.

Jennie & I on the couch at 52%!

I got the chance to speak to Maisie, one of the show’s regular guests. I was amazed at just how articulate and passionate she was when talking to her; one topic of conversation was about communication and how a guest on a show needs to communicate with the audience. I remember her saying something along the lines of, “You could be a genius but if you don’t know how to communicate no one will listen”. Reflecting upon this, this is absolutely relevant to a TV show in every way, if a presenter is dull with a mundane personality, who will tune in?? No one. 52%’s presenter Claire had an extremely bubbly and positive personality, but also spoke with such compassion on the subject of mental illness.

After meeting the cast of 52% Jennie and I went and sat at the back of the room and watched the show run its course, making notes along the way. I watched in sheer amazement as I heard the stories of the people who featured on the episode. How strong they are is incredible and actually really inspiring. What I particularly liked was how they talked about mental illness in both boys and girls and how it affects them in different ways.

It was sad at times hearing some of the statistics but it’s something everyone needs to be aware of. A lady called Rita Jones was on the show, an inspiring lady who set up a support group for children with mental illnesses after her own son was diagnosed with ADHD. It’s heart-warming to know there are people like that in this world who have the ability to turn their own situation into something that's not only beneficial for themselves but for others too.

Overall it was an amazing day, all thanks to Sarah for being so kind as to invite us a long to watch her and the other ladies discuss such a hard hitting topic.

I would urge anyone who gets the opportunity to watch this episode. If you're struggling yourself with any kind of mental illness, don't suffer in silence. There's always someone to reach out to. Nothing is every permanent, you won't feel like this forever.


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