Practical Tips for Mental Health (When You Can't Afford a Therapist) - E003
Today, Charlie Marshall of Authentic Mental Health shares practical tips for mental health. Not everyone has access to free or affordable counseling or other mental health services. Charlie is on a mission to educate, spread awareness, and to help others feel normal and understood.
With his following of over 100k on Youtube and 380k on TikTok, he's using video to help others feel less alone when it comes to their mental health struggles. He shares his perspective, advice, and practical tip for mental health in 2020 and beyond.
TODAY'S GUEST: CHARLES MARSHALL
> Why it is important to talk about mental health struggles (06:27)
> Every person is different when it comes to anxiety and depression. "In the mental health field we get labeled a lot, and this is not the case because everybody deals and struggles differently". (13:27)
> Health care expenses in America vs England (20:20)
> Think about these things before getting your medication (27:28)
> Practical and free ways to help yourself when you can't afford a therapist (34:20)
E003: Practical Tips for Mental Health (When You Can't Afford a Therapist) with Charles Marshall
Many people in the world don't know practical tips for mental health. How different would the world be if everyone had access to free or low-cost mental healthcare? Charles Marshall and I sit down and have a conversation about practical tips for mental health. We discuss:
- Our own personal experiences accessing mental health services.
- How stable mental health is a privilege that many of us get to never experience.
- Why we’ve both chosen to help people who are turning to online social media outlets to gain insight into their own mental health journey.
Amy: [00:00:38] Welcome back to What We're Not Talking About. Today I have with me Charles Marshall, who is a fantastic and well-known TikToker and Youtuber in the mental health space. His brand-authentic mental health is helping millions of people on the internet. So I just want to take a moment and say thank you, Charles, for being with us today and welcome.
Charlie: [00:01:06] Hey, thank you. Thank you very much for having me. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Amy: [00:01:11] You're welcome. I'm excited to jump in and start talking about... I mean, I want to talk about everything all the time, but we'll try to narrow down this conversation a little bit. So I've been following you for, I don't know, about two or three months in your journey. I'm just really loving seeing people show off a show up authentically, which is great.
Because that’s in your name, The Authentic Mental Health (Authentically Mental Health), and it's just really wonderful to see it.
I think this - I don't want to say trend because it's so much more than this, maybe movement is a better way of putting it - of numerous therapists, mental health warriors coming out and really starting to help themselves with further healing processes, but at the same time also help so many more around the globe. Finally sharing practical tips for mental health. And I'd love to know why you just decided one day that this is what you're going to do.
Charlie: [00:02:11] I started Authentic Mental Health in 2016, and it was December 2016. And I remember back then, when I searched online, for anything really related to mental health, there was, there was nothing on there. It was not like it is today where people are open and talking about, you know, mental health all the time. Practical tips for mental health weren’t being shared.
2016 was a really difficult year for myself. I didn't leave my house for eight months. I was severely depressed. I had bad thoughts. I was thinking, “Is there any point to my life, is my life worth living,” and things like that. And then in December of 2016, I decided how I was going to kind of combat that was to journal how I was feeling.
So I've always journalled in a book. When people usually talk about journalling, they talk about, you know, writing, writing in a book. I decided to do a video journal, to express how I was feeling. I thought talking about it would help me a lot. So, that's how Authentic Mental Health was started.
It was just a way of me expressing myself.
Then one thing led to another and Authentic Mental Health is no longer about me. It's about the community of people within Authentic Mental Health. It just grew and grew and took off from there. So at the beginning it was a way to help myself, if that makes sense to you.
Authentic Mental Health started out as just a way of me expressing myself. Then what it turned into, it's not about me anymore. It's about the community of people around the world who are struggling and want to talk and be open and honest with each other.
That’s how it started.
Amy: [00:04:11] I think that's beautiful. And I want to say this. I think as a man, it takes even more courage to kind of stand up there and say, “I've got things going on.” Just because of the society we live in, toxic masculinity and all that fun stuff. So for a man to stand up there and say, “You know, I am struggling and here is how I'm hoping or thinking that I'm going to start my healing process by a video journal,” and then have that grow into something so huge is not only heartwarming and encouraging for the future, but it's also so badly needed. Both men and women need to stand up and share practical tips for mental health.
Charlie: [00:04:51] Oh, yeah, definitely. I would agree. There are quite a few men, I'm talking about mental output, but there's not too many. Online, it's mostly women, women sharing their story, which is fantastic. It doesn't matter who, who shares their story. It's just fantastic that people are talking about it to begin with.
But it's difficult as a man because of the stigma attached to it.
People associate men... Well, I say society associates men with being big, tough, macho, emotionless people, you know? The providers, the people who take care of everyone else, you know what I mean? That sort of stigma, which is it's difficult to deal with. I mean, I get comments all the time. Like, “Oh, just you need to man up, like stop being such a, you know.”
Amy: [00:05:41] If only it were that easy.
Charlie: [00:05:43] Yeah, exactly.
Amy: [00:05:47] That's something I'd like to talk about. So, you brought it up. So let's chat about this right now. How is it difficult for you to build this online community? Is there a lot of negativity that shows up on your videos or your posts and in your online space? Or is it overall like mostly positive?
Charlie: [00:06:12] Mostly I’d say 99.9% of it is positive. It’s made of people who care about each other and want to help each other and be part of the community. Occasionally, you'll get some negativity. Sometimes people saying horrible things. Like even to this day, people still don't believe in mental health, which is really-
Amy: [00:06:35] Insane.
Charlie: [00:06:37] Yeah, insane. It’s strange to me when I read things like that.
I had a comment the other day, I think it was on one of my TikTok videos. I reacted to it. They said, “Anxiety disorders don't exist. You just need to stop being a pussy.” It was basically what they said. It's just crazy. I don't know how anybody does that.I think that's why it's important people talking about mental health and sharing their story because we need to somehow remove that stigma.
And those thoughts.
The more people talk about it, the more people will sit up and listen and say, “Wow, actually, my views are wrong.” And it does exist and people are affected by this. Millions of people are affected by this, around the world. So I think that's why it's important for everybody to talk about mental health.
Amy: [00:07:43] Yeah. I agree with you. And I believe that when such a variety of being human beings step up and start talking about it... I'll talk about TikTok because I'm obsessed with that platform. I'm on it way too much, and I have three accounts. I have my brand one that is The Empathy Front, which is my version of Authentic Mental Health.
It's just like practical tips for mental health and very similar topics that show up in your and my following. So I really focus on that. And the one thing that I'm noticing is such a variety of individuals are standing up and talking about it. This is so powerful because it allows different demographics that haven't felt that they've been seen or understood or heard, be represented on these social media platforms.
And that in itself is saving so many people from turmoil. I use these words. It's so much more. Charles, you don't know my story very much, but I was undiagnosed with chronic anxiety.
It started when I was about five.
I was almost kidnapped by someone and it just kind of ricocheted from there. And for me, I was undiagnosed until I was 26, which was only four years ago. So for people to come out, the younger generations to be standing up and saying, “you know, I may not be diagnosed, but I have anxiety, I have depression.” It's just so powerful because if I had even a glimpse into this when I was 16, 17, or 18, I truly believe that my life would be different.
Charlie: [00:09:28] Yeah, I totally agree.
Amy: [00:09:31] And like, so you're on TikTok. Do you create all your own content? Or do you ask... That's not what I meant to ask, sorry, you obviously create your own content.
But do you get topics sent to you via DM’s? Are kids and adults alike asking you to talk about certain things? Or are you just like, “whatever is going on in my brain, in this session of filming TikToks is what comes up”?
Charlie: [00:09:57] Like I mentioned earlier and the conversation of how I started Authentic Mental Health, it was basically about me and journaling or sharing my story. Now, what I try to do is make content based on how other people are feeling and what would help other people. So going back to the question you just asked, I do get a lot of suggestions.
What we have to do is look at the comments of any of my videos and people will be like, “Hey Charlie, can you make a video on OCD today? And so, and so.” I do try and make videos that people are suggesting.
However, if I did that all the time, I would be making videos every single day about practical tips for mental health.
It's kind of difficult. I just kind of go with the flow if that makes sense. I just do what I feel would help people on any specific given day. So this morning before we jumped on this podcast, I did a video on…. I just wrote all the mental health disorders and I said, “It's okay. There's no shame in being diagnosed with a mental health disorder.” Just letting people know it's okay. So, it depends on the day. That really depends on how I'm feeling, how I think the community of Authentic Mental Health is feeling, if that makes sense. And then I basically just make videos or content, but based around that, so yeah.
Amy: [00:11:33] Well, I think that's great for me. Like, I need to be in the - what's the right word?- not in the zone... But sometimes my moods... I'm very hyper. Like my trauma responses have been very hyper, so I'm a very energetic, bubbly person. So for me, it's hard to talk about some stuff in mental health, because even though I am consistently managing my mental health and really working on unpacking a lot. A lot of people are like, how are you talking about? So I just did like a four part series on excoriation, skin picking disease…
Charlie: [00:12:10] Mhmm.
Amy: [00:11:33] And I'm like smiling and bubbly. And they're like “but how are you like that?” I'm like, well, because I, this is how I am. This is how I’ve used practical tips for mental health.
Charlie: [00:12:17] Yeah, that’s how you are.
Amy: [00:12:19] That's how I am.
I can still talk about this, I can still give practical tips for mental health
It's serious stuff, but at the same time, I've lived with it for so long. If I just am constantly in this doom and gloom kind of feeling when I talk about this... I don't want to give that impression that it's like hopeless or that there's nothing that can be done about it.
So for me, like I really have to honor my energy. But it can be really difficult from my own experience just because I am such a smiley, bubbly person. And they're like, well, how, like you're fine. And I'm like, that's the thing. I have pretended that I've been fine for my whole life that nobody knows anymore.
Charlie: [00:13:00] Yeah, I mean-
Amy: [00:13:02] You know? I mean, sorry, go, go ahead.
Charlie: [00:13:04] Oh, no. Everybody is different. When it comes to mental health disorders and how they, their personalities, what symptoms... You know, my anxiety will be slightly different than yours and yours... You know? I mean, everybody is different. So, that's another part of the stigma. Rarely, when people say, “Oh, that person is struggling with, let's say depression that they've been diagnosed with with clinical depression.” And then they see them laughing. And they're like “that person's not depressed that person's smiling and laughing.” Or, “They seem like they're having a good time. I thought they struggle with anxiety. What's going on?” Or this person said they have social anxiety, but they're out with their friends. You know what I mean?
It's the stigma that's attached to it.
So people think depression is just somebody who just likes, sits in bed, cries all day, doesn't do anything, you know? When that might be the case for some people, but not for everybody. And I kind of feel like in the mental health field we're in, we get labeled a lot. It's like, that's not the case at all, because like I mentioned, everybody deals with it and everybody suffers or struggles differently, you know? The practical tips for mental health will affect everyone differently.
And I think that's where we need to break the stigma and talk about it more. I make quite a few videos on this and I've made videos on like, “this is what depression looks like.” Then I do many different faces. So I'll be laughing, crying, angry, sad. You know? I mean, because depression is all of those things.
It's not just somebody who sits in the corner and cries 24/7. And sometimes when I make videos, people will comment being like, “Wow, depression doesn't affect me like that. Like, I can't smile if I'm depressed, so you can't be depressed.” And that's what I'm trying to break at the moment is the stigma of, “Yeah, I understand what you're saying, but my mental disorder, mental illness will affect me differently than it affects you.”
You know? I mean, we get labeled. If you're depressed, you have to be sad 24/7. You know? I mean, it's like those labels that we need to kind of break down and stop. So, it's difficult. but hopefully we'll get there one day.
Amy: [00:15:34] Yeah. And I think that's really important that you bring that up.
Because for me, just like in my own experience, I know how depression presents in me.
Or has presented in me during different stages of my life in totally different ways. I used to sleep 20 hours a day or not eat.Or probably more than that, honestly. I’d wake up for one meal and then go back to bed. And I did that for about a year. I mean, this was like the worst year of my life, arguably. So I understand why I just like was like, “you know what, I'm checking out for a bit.” But like two years ago, my depression showed up as being a chronic workaholic.
I used to be in the coaching industry, working as a marketing operations person. So I was building landing pages and doing all the backend stuff. It's super, super masculine, driven energy. Like, go, go, go, go. So I was working 12, 14 hours a day and sleeping the rest. I worked from home. So I literally was just going back and forth between the bed and my office. I didn’t have the practical tips for mental health.
And I wasn't showering. I wasn't taking care of myself... and to me I'd even fooled me. I was like, “Oh yeah, I'm fine. I'm just like really into my work.” And then I was noticing a lot of my relationships were falling apart with really close friends. I was realizing that I was losing empathy for people, which is like my biggest red flag. Because I'm a very feeling, loving person.
When that happens, I know something's not going right.
And I actually moved back. So I was living in the Capital of Canada. And then I moved back to where I was originally from, which is Nova Scotia, Canada. And it took me moving home to realize just how depressed I really was. I think by highlighting the different ways that we experience mental health illnesses or disorders or problems or whatever you want to call it, it really not only goes with the flow of your life, but also like what... Like for me anyways, it was what I was willing to accept because I've been struggling with this for so long. And I felt in 2017, I had really made a lot of strides in the positive. And at least in my brain, like all those like negative talking things that are going on.
But it really wasn't the case. And I'm really into the mindset aspect and how that does tie in with mental health, because I do come from like the self-help world. But I know that's not always the case for a lot of people, but it was really interesting to me because I think even.... We just need to talk about it more. We need to talk about practical tips for mental health.
We need to talk about it more.
That's why I called this podcast,”What We're Not Talking About.”
Because even if we are talking about it, it's not at the level it needs to be. And I don't know how it's like in Los, like California and how it is there. But I know where I live, the resources that a lot of people in my community and city have had for mental health has lost funding. So what was a boom five years ago where they opened all these clinics for like people that didn't have enough money, it's all closed. So it was this waste of money as well. Well, not waste, but you know. They put it in for five years and were like, nevermind.
And that's why we need TikTokers, YouTubers, podcast hosts, whatever, mental health advocates to really start talking about it. Because, on a wider scale, who's going to do it? Who is going to do it? That's my question. Are we going to wait until the doctors and all those people that don't admit that they have mental health issues or struggle with it? Or they're so adamant that it like it hasn't affected them, that they refuse to see that. At least in my experience. I have a weird thing with Western medicine. But it's so frustrating. I'm sorry. I'm getting really worked up. I'm like, errg, I just want the world to be happy and love each other!
Charlie: [00:19:37] On the same on the side.
Amy: [00:19:41] Yeah. Sorry, go ahead.
Charlie: [00:19:42] No, yeah.
It's difficult because, as you can tell from my accent, I'm from England.
So I moved to America here to California two years ago, when I was 20... I was 23 at the time. Just before my 24th birthday. So I was used to in England, healthcare being free. You know, we don't have to pay too, um...
Amy: [00:20:07] Just like Canada.
Charlie: [00:20:08] Oh, oh, really?
Amy: [00:20:09] Yeah. We have free health. Well, yeah, we do. Psych like this, the therapy is, it's it's hard, but we do have free healthcare.
Charlie: [00:20:18] Well, I mean, in England we also have private healthcare as well, which you can pay for. But yeah, it was kind of like a shock. Like going from getting my healthcare for free, then coming to America where, you know, if you don't have insurance, you pay through the roof of your own pocket. And it was just kind of like, wow, this is, you know, I don't understand how people do it.
It's honestly crazy because it's really expensive as well. I don't really understand really how the system works here in America, if I'm totally honest with you. I'm not bashing America. That's not what I'm doing at all. I'm just saying me personally, I don't understand how it works here.
So I take medication for my mental illnesses. So in England, what I would do is I would go to my GP, tell them basically how I'm feeling. And then my GP would give me a prescription. And then I would take that to the pharmacy and then pay five pounds, $5 to get my prescription for a month. And then I'd do that each month.
So to do all of that, it would only cost me like $5.
Because the only thing I would need to pay for is my medication each month. When I came to America, my wife set it all up for me. So I believe I went to go and see a... not sure what they call them... Like a psychiatrist that no, not a psychiatrist… somebody who prescribes tablets, GP’s don't do it here in the mental health field.
Amy: [00:22:03] Oh, I didn't know that either.
Charlie: [00:22:05] I had to go and see, I'm not sure what they're called, but I had to pay him $200 just to go and see him.
Amy: [00:22:11] Yeah, that sounds familiar.
Charlie: [00:22:15] So. And then I was with him for literally 10 minutes. And all he did was give me a prescription.
He was like, okay, this is what you need. You go and take this to the pharmacist, to the pharmacy now. So then I'll go to the pharmacy and then I'd pay for my prescription. But the point is I had to pay $200 each month just to go and see somebody to give me a prescription for what I need. You know what I mean?
To me, that's kind of... cause I'm not used to it. Obviously people who are born in America are used to that, aren't they? So, but it was just a weird culture change and shock to me by doing that. And that's what I said to you. I don't understand how people in America do it because if you look at the figures, a lot of people in America actually live under the poverty threshold in line.
People don't have $200 to spare a month to go and see somebody to give them a prescription.
It's crazy. And then that's just to get your prescription, that's not even to get therapy! That's not even speaking to anybody. So then if you want to speak to a therapist, let's say it's another $90 a week.
You know what I mean? People don't have $600, $700 a month to spend on their mental health. Even though your mental health is important, just as important as your physical health, it's just crazy to me. It really is crazy to me. I don't understand it, but that's probably me because I wasn't born here.
You know, that's not me attacking America or the system or anything. It was weird when, when I came here. I'm used to, you know, getting this stuff for free. And I probably took it for granted. If that makes sense to you. But practical tips for mental health can help so much.
Amy: [00:24:06] Oh, yeah. I mean, I got you. I can tell you're very political. I have no problem bashing the system, so I'll just do that. So what happens and what's very scary for me about that is that.... As you said, there's so many people living below the poverty line. So that means that they have to focus their resources on shelter, food, and being able to live in the day to day. They're in complete survival mode.
They're not here to... or they're not there. They are here, but they're not able to focus on their mental health because they don't have money.
Because it's been a monetized industry all over the world, but especially in the United States.
It's also like they're being, so I'll use my example. So my father passed away very unexpectedly in December and he died in front of me.
Charlie: [00:24:58] I'm sorry to hear that.
Amy: [00:25:00] Oh yeah. Thank you. So he died in front of me. He had told me for a very long time not to call 911, which is the ambulance. Oh yeah. You're in America. And... I like went through some trauma because of that. So I went to a doctor after, because I was like due for a yearly checkup and...
They were like, “Okay, like, do you want to see a grief counselor? Because therapy through referral through a GP in Canada is free.” However, you're playing with the waiting game. So I was like, “Oh, wow. Like I could, I could probably afford therapy on my own, (or I was in therapy actually at the time), but let me put my name on, because free therapy is great.”
She's like, “Okay, the wait will be two and a half years.”
And I'm like, “Sorry? Two and a half years to talk about my father's death that happened a month ago. Do you not think that I might be a little okay by then?” I mean, hopefully anyway, and then because of that, this is another thing. I believe a hundred percent in medication, but I believe and I don't think medication should just be thrown at you. Practical tips for mental health should be the first thing we look at.
Charlie: [00:26:14] Yeah, I agree totally.
Amy: [00:26:16] Yeah. So for me, she was like, “Well, because you can't get in, why don't you take antidepressants?” And I was like, well, first of all, I don't want it.
Charlie: [00:26:27] Yeah, exactly.
Amy: [00:26:29] Second of all, this is only the second time I have seen you because my other doctor had retired. So I have a new doctor and I was like, and you're just going to throw strong antidepressants at me without even knowing my story.
And that also scares me. But it's such a complicated and convoluted situation with mental health all over the world. And so many people, because they have been struggling with this for so long, they just don't have, what's the word? It's not like they don't have the insight into it. It's that they're just…
They want something to work.
They're so done struggling that they are just, okay, whatever. I'll take it.
It's just... sorry. I know it's a really long circle. I've just noticed, but-
Charlie: [00:27:21] No, it's okay. If you look at a lot of other organizations or mental health creators or influencers or whatever you want to call them, a lot of them talk about medication like antidepressants. I don't. And the reason why I don't is that I don't believe the first thing you should do is jump on medication. You should find practical tips for mental health, ones that will help you.
Now I'm not bashing medication. I take medication, I take antidepressants myself. But I believe you should exhaust every other avenue before jumping on medication or antidepressants. It should not be the first answer. It should not be the first solution.
And what people don't really talk about is when you jump on these antidepressants, they actually make you worse for the first six weeks. And then they start to help after the six weeks. But if you, if you read and you speak to the people who prescribed it to you... it's like, “okay, I'm depressed.”
“Okay. Take this antidepressant. But by the way, for the first six weeks you may feel suicidal. And that's a side effect of the antidepressant.”
It's like, what?
So I’m taking this tablet that's supposed to help me with my depression… But for the first six weeks, I'm going to want to end my life? You know what I mean? And it's terrible. And that's the reason why I don't talk about medication or antidepressants because I believe people should try other things.
And then you should always look at trying to do other things rather than jumping on tablets and...
We need practical tips for mental health.
Going back to what we were talking about before, I'm going to make a statement now, and it's going to sound kind of weird, but... I think here in America, mental health has become a privilege for the wealthy and I'll explain why.
I know somebody personally at the moment who is addicted to opioids. And they're also addicted to Xanax and they don't get the Xanax for their mental health. They buy the Xanax illegally, because they're struggling. They're severely depressed. They were recently sexually assaulted, so this is how they're dealing with it.
We try to get them into an addiction rehab center when they don't have insurance, because. they're below. They don't have a well-paid job. I think they work in a restaurant or something, so they don't really have good insurance. And it was $60,000 US dollars for this person to go to rehab. For one month. $60,000 US dollars.
That’s absolutely.... So this poor person is struggling and they can't get the help they need and deserve because they don't have 60 grand just tucked away in a bank account somewhere. You know what I mean? When you see these famous celebrities who are struggling with addiction. They can just... I mean, that's why I say mental health is a privilege for the wealthy now.
Because the money involved in it is absolutely ridiculous. I understand rehabs need money. It's not a free thing. It really is crazy. And it really upsets me if I'm honest with you. Because I see this person struggling and they just can't get help. It's really sad. It really is sad. And I just don't know what the answers are. That’s the thing, you know?
Even in England, although it's free, it still has its problems.
So you'll have a long waiting list, like you mentioned. Two and a half years to see somebody.
In England, when I was there last, when I wanted to speak to a counselor, through the NHS (the National Health Service), it was a nine month wait. And I said to them, “I'll be dead before then. I'll end my own life. I need to see someone now… I can't wait nine months.”
Free or paying for it they both have issues and problems, but it's really difficult. It's finding a balance, you know? It's like finding a way to help everyone, not just people who have money or... It's finding that balance. Isn't it?
Amy: [00:32:05] Yeah, absolutely. And I share that exact same sentiment with you. And that was what I was trying to also play upon earlier when I was talking about these people who are below the poverty line. Not able to maybe even feed their entire family in a great way. Three, like one week out of the four, and yet it's going to cost them for one person...
This is just if one person needed $700, $800 extra a month to be on meds and have to go to therapy and... It's scary and terrifying. And I also recognize my privilege in this because I have a lot of childhood trauma. I had an, or my father was an actual narcissist, not these buzz term narcissists, he actually was one.
At the end of the day, I still had that foundation of knowing that one of my family members, if it got bad, they would give me money to go to therapy or get medication or whatever.
It was if I needed it. And so many people don't have that. Like, millions. They don’t have practical tips for mental health that would help them.
Charlie: [00:33:11] And that's why people suffer in silence. You get to a point where you're like, I need help. I need help. Okay. I'm going to try and get help. Oh, I can't get help. So I might as well just suffer in silence, you know? I mean, like there's no point. I get so many people saying that to me... Especially in countries like India. It's not just England and America, it's all around the world. And they're like, “Mental health isn't accepted in my country. It's not accepted, people don't understand it. People say you're crazy. Or, you know, it's the devil because they're religious countries and things that you.” You know what I mean?
Like, “Satan's taken over your soul because you depressed, blah, blah.” You know what I mean? So it's difficult.People just end up suffering in silence because, what else are they supposed to do? There's nothing else for them to actually do but suffer in silence. And it's really heartbreaking and sad.
It really is. And I just, I dunno what the answer is. I'll be honest with you. I think about it all the time. What can we do? That's why things like what me and you are doing are so fantastic because it's free. I mean, yes, we're not like mental health counselors or therapists and we can't diagnose people and we can't turn out prescriptions left, right, and center.
But it's just the fact that it's a free platform, people can relate to it, people can feel less alone.
People can realize that, “hey, I'm not crazy.” They're not flipping taken over by the devil. All these things, they're getting this information for free. They're not having to spend $600, $700 a month. But like I said, we're not therapists or counselors or mental health professionals. But we do give practical tips for mental health.
We're just people sharing our stories in the hope that other people can relate to them. And, and feeling less alone and realize that it's okay not to be okay. And that's the fantastic part about it. But then on the other hand, they also need that other care and help, like, “I do need to see a professional.”
They do need to maybe depending on their situation, be on antidepressants. Which that's what we cannot offer, and it's heartbreaking, really. What's the answer? What's the solution?
I think about it all the time and it really does break my heart and upsets me a lot seeing the amount of people in the world suffering, struggling. It really is heartbreaking when you think about it, and those people... Nobody deserves to be suffering in the world. Nobody. Not even talking about just mental health now. I mean, just any form of suffering, pain, poverty, not being able to feed your children, feed yourself, clothe yourself, not having a home, you know, things we…
There's many things that me and you would take for granted. We have a roof over our head. We have walls, we sleep in a bed. We can eat food and drink water. Millions of people around the world don't don't have that. It's really batty.
I try to avoid going to Los Angeles for the sole reason.
I'm not sure what it's called. It might be called skid row or something. And there's literally thousands upon thousands of people living in the center of Los Angeles in tents. They're actually homeless, there's thousands of them. You turn the corner and Beverly Hills is just there, where there are $20 million dollar houses. Then two minutes down the road, there are people living in tents. The line between wealth and poverty in Los Angeles is absolutely ridiculous and it just breaks my heart. And so I try and avoid going to Los Angeles because I just end up just crying while driving in my car.
It's so sad. I don't understand it, if I'm honest with you. It's like a sad world that we live in, if I'm, if I’m honest with you.
Amy: [00:37:32] Yeah. Are you an empath? I'm listening to you and I'm like, are you an empath? Because I am too. So that's why. Yeah.
Charlie: [00:37:38] Yeah, I probably am. I don't really put labels on myself, but I'm sure I am. It's just, I dunno, But going back to the mental health thing, because obviously we're talking about mental health, I’m kind of like tracking and going on to-
Amy: [00:37:59] I mean, it's all interrelated right? Like, so...
Charlie: [00:38:02] Oh, yeah, definitely. Talking about the homeless problem in Los Angeles and California as a state - I can't remember if it's the state of California or the United States government.
They said the reason why there are so many people homeless in Los Angeles, and why they can't help them, is because of addiction.
When I read that, I was like, what? That doesn't make sense. What are these people supposed to do? They’re cold, they sleep in the rain, they have nothing in their lives. I think I would have turned to something to numb my pain too, if I had these problems and no practical tips for mental health..
Amy: [00:38:55] I mean, I used to..
Charlie: [00:39:01] Like, what’s that all about?
Amy: [00:39:03] And it's funny because it's almost like they're using a symptom of their mental health as an excuse not to help them with their mental health. And you're just like, do you see the irony of this? Not you, but like the lawmakers. So I'm like, hmm.
My background was political science, so I lost faith in the world a long time ago. And I'm the exact same way. Like I just try my dang hardest and not think about this stuff because it's so heartbreaking. And I used to live in Ottawa, which is the capital and it's the same thing.
It's like we have our beautiful parliament buildings and then like three blocks down the road... It's thousands of people and a lot of them are First Nations People that have come to Ottawa because up North is so cold. You can't be homeless in Ninivah. And then they come here and I mean, Ottawa is still cold in the winter.
And it's just like they don't really do anything about it. And the prime minister literally lives three blocks down the road. And I know there's a lot going on in the world and I know mental health is now at the current time and not going to be prioritized, but....
That's the one thing I'm actually really intrigued to see is what happens after COVID calms down.
I mean, in the United States, I don't even know about that. Cause you guys, I've seen those numbers and that scares me, but, but after it calms down and we're in-
Charlie: [00:40:40] Yeah, but there's no problem in America. Apparently, you-
Amy: [00:40:45] Oh yeah, you guys don't have anything wrong, right?
Charlie: [00:40:47] Yeah. Nothing's wrong. COVID doesn't exist, you know? I mean, governments want to open up schools and act like nothing's wrong. So COVID doesn't exist... and I'm saying that sarcastically.
Amy: [00:41:00] Well, it's crazy like our reaction in Canada, especially in my province, is so different. We don't have any...I think we have one active case in the entire province that has been tested right now. And then I looked at the United States and it's totally different.
The population is like 300 times... 30 times? I forget you guys have like what 350,000 or 350 million people in that country. We have like three, 35, so a hundred times more. I get it, it's harder. But at the same time, we don't have a lot of people. I mean, you do. And I'm pretty sure I understand what's going to happen, but what is going to happen with mental health the next two years are what scares me the most.
And I really try not to think about how to fix it because I don't know either. I just don't know. And yeah, I think that's why it's great that you are doing what you're doing and I'm starting to do what I'm doing because there isn't really a finite answer. So, for me, my main driving force behind doing it is that I felt so alone. Like, so alone.
And my mental health got really bad when I was in high school.
And then it got really bad for a long period of time... But in high school, if I had learned somewhere or coping mechanisms, or if there were some things where… High school would have been a turning point for me.
And I'm not saying I wouldn't have had chronic mental health issues, but I don't think I would have gone off the deep end like I did. Because I was a drug addict. I was codependent. And then I also was a sex worker because I just, as what you said earlier, was trying to escape the pain.
So I was in the super while simultaneously trying to feel. So it was like this weird really high risk behavior, mixed with like these super low moments. And if I just had one social media account at that time that was talking about this, I truly believe that I would have been 10 times better. Just one account sharing practical mental health tips.
And so what we're doing, that's what I mean. That's really the only thing we can do is speak our truth and hopefully that someone out there here's what they need to hear in that moment and they just don't feel as alone. And we will share our practical tips for mental health that way.
Charlie: [00:43:24] Yeah, of course. I mean, for me, my goal from really the beginning was if I could just stop one person from taking their own life, then I consider it to be a success and worth all the pain time and suffering of myself, you know?
I like to think we've done that. I like to think we've at least helped one person not take their own life.
Amy: [00:43:51] I think you have.
Charlie: [00:43:54] I've never really spoken about it before, but I have quite strong views on… This is going to sound like Schrage and like conspiracy kind of stuff. But...
Amy: [00:44:04] You're talking to the right person. Don’t worry about that.
Charlie: [00:44:07] I kind of feel like they want people, especially in America, they want mental illness because it's such a big money on for them.
The pharmaceutical companies are earning, I don't even want to know it, trillions of dollars just from antidepressants alone. So, they're kind of pushing it. I've noticed it because if you watch Netflix and some shows, it's all about mental illness now and how cool it is. Oh, and addiction as well.
Like, “Oh, it's cool.” You know what I mean? I can't remember what the show is at the moment. It's on Netflix. I dunno what it's called. I haven't watched it, but I've heard stories about it. It's this girl who's got bipolar disorder and she's an addict and she does loads of drugs and stuff and makes it look cool. I see loads of kids online, like doing the makeup like she has in the show and like trying to act and be her. They are making money from mental illness and not supporting practical tips for mental health.
And you know what I mean? It's... I don't know, man. When I think about it, it's a big money earner for them... especially the pharmaceutical companies. They're the sponsor, they run America, you know what I mean? These big corporations. So, you're never going to win going up against them.
Amy: [00:45:30] Exactly.
Charlie: [00:45:32] One of my main goals is to get into politics.
I'm going to be honest with you, I want to change many mental health laws and things like that. And try to help the people. But I probably won't be very successful because of my views. They contradict what the government and these big corporations do. You know what I mean?
Amy: [00:45:52] Oh, yeah. I mean, I would like to be able to help that as well. I would really like to be able to have that much, not having, what's the right word? Like to be able to elicit that change in policy. Because I think there's so much more that can be done right now for very little money that they're just choosing to ignore and overlook and it's scary to say the least.
But I also think that, for me, it's really hard to digest this because I feel like I've been struggling with this literally for my... I'm 30... So like 27 years of my life. It’s that we're too used to like marketing jargon. We're “early adopters” of this. We are the forerunners of, not you and I, but the people sitting or standing up and really talking about it and trying to help people. We're at the beginning of that change and it's beautiful, but it's also a little scary because we are up against these big monopolies of big pharma. And just think of how we could change the world with practical tips for mental health.
Charlie: [00:47:08] Yeah.
My, I don't really want to say hero, but somebody who I think everybody should know about is Aaron Swartz.
And there's a quote, there's a quote from Aaron Swartz and what he believed in was you should always question everything and that's, that's how Aaron lived his life up until unfortunately he apparently took his own life.
Without Aaron Swartz, we would not be on Zoom today. We would not be… He was the founder of Reddit. He created Reddit, and he went up against-
Amy: [00:47:47] So, that's who it is, is the founder of Reddit? Cause I don't know who that is.
Charlie: [00:47:50] Yeah. He created RSS feeds and he did loads of things. And then he got into politics and he went against the government and had a lawsuit. And then ended up committing suicide because they were trying to put them in prison for 35 years and things.
But... That's my philosophy and I got that from Aaron. It’s you should always question everything. So what goes through my head is why are so many people in this world struggling with their mental health? Why then are those people taking many different tablets for it? Why is the government not doing anything about it? Why don’t they push practical tips for mental health?
Why in some places in the world with mental illnesses higher than in other parts of the world? You know what I mean? Although technology is in a way a fantastic thing, I think technology has had a major effect on people's mental health. Especially social media and especially for children and teenagers using social media.
For me, I try not to go on Instagram and I'll explain to you why.
When I go on Instagram and I go on the search feed, I just see like a million topless guys, six packs ripped, absolutely looking like they've just come off like a Hollywood set, you know?
Then I look at myself in the mirror and I'm like, “Oh-kay. Like, What's going on here?” I wish I looked like this person and then I'm just like, “Well, hang on a second. No, Charlie, no, you can't be like that. You're your own person. I was created how I am.” You know what I mean?
Take a 13 year old girl. She goes on Instagram, she goes on the search feed. You see like these women in bikinis with no body fat. And they look, I dunno, sculpted by an angel or whatever? How do you think that 13 year old girl is going to feel? I mean, they're bombarded with this constant like, “Ha ha look at me!” show off culture. “I've got this, I've got that. I look like this.” You know what I mean?
And then what people don't realize is that it has a negative effect on people's mental health. Even if the other person, the woman who's posting the photo or the man who's posting the topless photo, doesn't mean to hurt.
They're not trying to hurt or damage somebody's mental health, you know? But it does, and it's not necessarily their fault because it's their page. They can do what they want. It does affect especially younger people growing up. I’m 26 and it affects me.
I think technology is a fantastic thing, but it also is damaging.
Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic that's been going on because people aren't going to school, people haven't been going to work. What are you going to do? Are you going to watch TV or go on social media?
[00:50:55] And what's too much? How much is too much social media? How much is watching too much TV? All these things come into play don't they? I just question everything and... I think that's the problem with me. And then I get down this loophole because there's always a question after the question after the question after the question. You know what I mean? It just goes on.
Amy: [00:51:20] Yeah, I know that. I know that game well.
Charlie: [00:51:24] It just keeps going down and there’s no end to it. And I probably waste most of my day just questioning things and three hours later, I'm still nowhere near finding an answer. But I just think everybody should question things. I mean, don't take what somebody says as gospel truth. Always question and try and find out your own answers. If that makes sense.
Amy: [00:51:44] Yeah, absolutely. And I like to just tie that in like also with what we say as well, on this podcast, but also on TikTok, YouTube, all these places, because it's our lived experience, but it can show up. As we said earlier in the episode, it can show up completely different than someone else. Completely.
So it's important to take in that information.
But we have to think, as you said, critically and analyze it and make sure that it works for us. Because one thing that I always really push when it comes to mental health is walking. It's just one thing, it's such a weird thing.
Everyone's like, why are you pushing walking? I'm like, you have no idea how drastically different your life could be if you walked 30 minutes a day. It’s one of my practical tips for mental health. But for people who have injuries, it's obviously not going to be helpful. So I am talking to a general audience hoping that the right people will hear that thing.
But I also want people who have maybe chronic disability issues or they just broke their leg or something like that. Or they're feeling quite hypo in their journey where they're just feeling super low energy and they just like... It would destroy them if they took a walk. That is something that also needs to be analyzed and integrated into your own being.
But the problem that takes a level of awareness that I know when I started my mental health journey, I didn't have that.
Charlie: [00:53:34] Mhm. Yeah, exactly.
Amy: [00:53:36] And yeah, that's, that's the biggest thing, but...
This was such an amazing conversation. And I also truly do love talking to people who have the same views as me and mental health, because I find some people are a little less authentic about it. Again, great way. Authentic Mental Health.
It just worked out really well for this conversation!
Charlie, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, to explain or to share your journey and your heart too. Because I'm super into energy and I can just feel so much from this conversation. I loved our conversation on practical tips for mental health.
So thank you so much.
Charlie: [00:54:19] Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. And just one last thing I wanted to add is that if anybody's listening and they feel like they can't handle the pain anymore or they feel like they can't go on anymore... I just want to remind you that you felt like this for so long and you're so much stronger than you think. You know you are because you've been living it.
So, I want to give you my admiration. For going through it and you're not alone going through it either. And also there's no shame in asking for help. And there's no shame in struggling with your mental health regardless of what the world, society, and the stigma says. There's the saying, “it's okay not to be okay.” And, and it really is true, you know? I've lived with my mental illnesses for over 10 years now. I accept them. There's nothing wrong with me struggling with my mental health. There's nothing wrong with you struggling with your mental health either, so…
I just want to give you a pat on your backs and tell you that you're not alone and you are loved. Even if you think you're not.
Amy: [00:55:35] That was wonderful. I think that's perfect.