Head Talks: The mental health advocate's answer to TED Talks

Kathryn Wheeler
By Kathryn Wheeler,
updated on Dec 20, 2017

Head Talks: The mental health advocate's answer to TED Talks

The website dedicated to sharing people's experiences with mental illness

At the age of 27, Oliver Chittenden hit rock bottom. Having suffered with anxiety and depression throughout his 20s, a passing comment made by a doctor he was seeing hit him hard. The comment? “Your problem Oliver, is you’re fighting.” This triggered something in Oliver, and he spent a year on the run before eventually being found on a street in Sydney and taken back to a recovery centre in London.

Whilst painful, this journey inspired Oliver to do something wonderful. “People tend to think there is something wrong with them if they feel depressed or anxious, that it’s unique to them and that they should deal with it alone. What they don’t realise is how widespread it is. The reality is that most of us live with a battlefield of some sort going on in our head.” Says Oliver, “We hope Head Talks will give hope to sufferers of mental illness and show that there is light and that it is something that can be overcome and managed.’

Oliver Chittenden (Founder) - Our Vision from Head Talks on Vimeo.

So, what is Head Talks?

Head Talks, the non-profit online resource for mental health. Designed with 21st Century in mind, the website hosts a number of short talks by celebrities and public figures. Each person speaks from the heart. They talk about their own experience and personal journeys in frank, accessible language, with the aim to normalise these kinds of conversations and ultimately work to break the stigma around mental illness.

Featuring the likes of Ruby Wax, Made in Chelsea star Josh Patterson, beauty blogger and personality Roxie Nafousi and Healthy chef and blogger Melissa Hemsley, it is hoped that these high profile figures will inspire honest conversation in our everyday lives.

Practical advice

But Headtalks offers more than just conversation. Spread over videos, podcasts and blog posts, the website offers practical advice from people who have gone through mental health problems in the past. Nicknamed a ‘mental toolbox’, these resources are vital for those who want to build healthier relationships with themselves and with those around them. Rather than promoting just one type of therapy, Headtalks explores all the options, therapies old, new, and unusual. What works for one person, may not necessarily work for another, but the more open we are about the resources that we use and the experiences we had with them, the easier it is for others to find help.

Ruby Wax from Head Talks on Vimeo.

What’s the end goal?

“Every week we hear of another study showing mental illness is on the increase - in workplaces, schools, universities and people’s homes.” Says Oliver, “As a society we have got to face up to this growing silent epidemic and create an openness and honesty around it. We need to change the perception that talking about feelings is a sign of weakness.”

You can find out more about Head Talks and donate to the organisation on their website.

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