Social media is often written off as bad for your mental health, however, there are some small places on the internet that can be helpful. Damian Smith, 33, of the United Kingdom is doing his part to fight the stigma of mental health by creating his own mental health mobile library.
Smith, a full time award-winning Jewelry designer and author of his lifestyle and mental health blog: The True Me, started his own mental health mobile library on the side stemming from his own struggles with mental health.
Readers are urged to tweet Smith to loan one of his books with their mailing address, which are then mailed out by post and mailed back once the reader is finished.
“I went through a real tough time in my life with depression and anxiety. Kind of hit rock bottom, but have managed to come back from it and am in a good place. Unfortunately after opening my heart to so many on Twitter, I can see that not everyone is this lucky. I remember some days not wanting to get out of bed, but books really inspire me,” said Smith.
According to the Mental Health Foundation UK, major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and ischemic heart disease. Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain with 7.8% of people meeting the criteria for diagnosis.
Smith started the mental health library completely from his own funds. His idea is to help those suffering who can’t afford books, or for those who are too depressed or anxious to get out of bed to get to the library.
“I buy the books and pay the postage costs. Each book comes with an inspirational quote on a card and also a bookmark,” said Smith. “As the project progresses, I will make more stuff to go inside the parcels.”
Smith gifts a bookmark to each borrower, encouraging each to write an inspirational message on the bookmark to pass on to the next person who will read it. Readers are asked to keep the book approximately one month so others have the chance to read it.
Magazines are being added to the library that Smith describes as “calm, flow and mindfulness magazines” that help keep an anxious brain busy or for readers looking to learn more about mental health, such as Breathe, or Teen Breathe.
Smith aspires to travel the UK in a camper van complete with seats and his book collection to further spread knowledge while continuing the online service.
“The more we can get people talking about mental health, hopefully the more lives we can save.” -E.O.