Author Lucy Nichol talks mental health stigma, writing and Margate Bookie

Author Lucy Nichol

Today (October 10) is World Mental Health Day, aimed at raising awareness of mental health problems. Author Lucy Nichol uses writing to try and help combat mental health stigma. She will be talking about her work at the Margate Bookie festival this month.

Using fiction to help combat mental health stigma is one of the aims of author Lucy Nichol, who will talk about her work at the Margate Bookie festival this month.

Lucy is a mental health campaigner who has worked with charity Mind and provided advice on some of TV’s major dramas and soaps such as Eastenders and Coronation Street about accurate portrayals of mental illness.

Lucy’s first book was a non-fictional work called A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes – Naming and Shaming Mental Health Stigmas. A second non fiction title, Snowflake, was published this year, looking at the most harmful mental health stereotypes and the impact of social media, the press and how mental health is represented in popular culture.

Alongside these she has raised the issue in fiction works The 27 Club and Parklife.

This summer she also published No Worries If Not, out with HarperCollins, which explores over apologising and imposter syndrome.

Lucy,45, said: “I will be at Margate Bookie and I’m going to be talking about the books I have written and how I started off writing about mental health stigma, particularly in media, and then looking at using fiction to have a similar effect.”

Music and dark comedy are the backdrops for The Twenty Seven Club and sequel Parklife.

Lucy said: “I was reminiscing about the 90s and absolutely love music and was thinking back to how stigma was then.

“I used to have panic attacks but I didn’t tell my friends because I didn’t know how to articulate it.

“I delve into my love of punk music and was thinking how (mental health) is portrayed in the media. I have done work with Mind for portrayals in Eastenders, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street.

“In the music world there is quite a lot of mental health stigma, where we either glamorise it or turn our noses up.

“If you think about Amy Winehouse people thought she was so funny as a guest panellist turning up drunk but when she had a crisis people turned away.

“Kurt Cobain was tortured. Joining the 27 club (a list consisting mostly of popular musicians, artists, actors, and other celebrities who died at age 27) is a neat headline but behind the headlines are really complex stories.”

Lucy, who has worked in communications for organisations across art, education and charities. says she has lived with anxiety throughout her life and first started blogging about her experiences and then gained the confidence to write books.

Lucy will be taking part in Margate Bookie on October 20 at Droit House from 1pm. Tickets are £5 plus booking fee at https://www.margatebookie.com/lucy-nichol

Find out more about Mental Health Day at: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day/

Three mental health stigma facts

Research commissioned by St Andrews Healthcare 

  • New research shows that 78% of respondents do not agree that mental illness is a sign of weakness – however, significantly more men than women are more likely to agree that it *is* a sign of weakness, evidencing the continued existence of toxic masculinity
  • Men are twice as likely as women to view mental illness as a ‘weakness’ –
  • 62% of respondents said they would stop to help somebody having a panic attack, yet only 25% said they would help somebody experiencing psychosis. Significantly more people (42%) said they would likely stop and help somebody who was being beaten up – where violence is clearly present.

Get support

Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/  Call 116 123

Mental Health Matters – https://www.mhm.org.uk/ or call 0800 107 0160. Free, confidential and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call Kent and Medway Mental Health Crisis Line on 0800 783 9111 which is available 24/7

Thanet Safe Haven on 07850 655877 6pm – 11pm 365 days or email [email protected]. If your usual sources of support are closed Safe Haven in Thanet offers mental health support to Kent residents aged 16+, including healthcare professionals.

East Kent Mind 0795 060 8827 or visit their website

Wellbeing line 0203 912 0032 is open Monday – Friday 2pm-5pm and Sunday 6pm-10pm

SpeakUp CIC peer support in Margate Email: [email protected]

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3 Comments

  1. I heard Lucy on BBC Radio Kent, talking about books and mental health. So positive. I bought two tickets. No normally my sort of thing, but she made me laugh.

  2. —Author Lucy Nichol talks mental health stigma

    I’d much prefer to hear her speak about stigmatizers, the harm they do. The harm we do in accepting them.

    Harold A Maio

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