Monthly Roundup: December 2017

How about that? It’s hard to think it’s finally New Year’s Eve. Where has the time gone?

These last few weeks of 2017 sure flew! It’s crazy when you consider how fun this year has been, but it’s good to end 2017 knowing so much good has happened this year. Of course, let’s not forget some months of the year were bad due to the terrorist attacks, but my heart goes out to every single person who has passed away this year, whether it’s from being a victim of a terrorist attack or whether it’s anyone famous or not, but always know I am thinking of you and everyone you know and also, always know I will always provide support to you if you ever feel you cannot open up. Never be ashamed to open up, opening up will always be a good way of helping you get back on track, so always know I’ll support all of you.

Without further ado, it’s time to take a final look back at the last few articles published over the course of December, in fact, the last few articles published for this year.

1.12.2017 – Welcoming all of you to December, I mentioned it was hard to believe that we finally reached the last month of 2017. I also mentioned that time flew so fast, but that 2017 was a fun year and a better one too.

15.12.2017 – Living our lives outside the comfort zone means there are new challenges that can help us to prosper and succeed if we work hard, and writing this article: “Living Life Outside the Comfort Zone: What Was it Like for You?” was my way of expressing what life was like after I started living it outside the comfort zone considering I had completed my first month of working full-time in my first ever full-time job, and then I asked all of you what it was like for you the moment you started to live life outside the comfort zone.

28.12.2017 – Going back to the drawing board with the photographs I previously produced that featured my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I produced some more photographs that followed on from when I photographed my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, of Saviyon & Shaquille. Considering this was an updated collection of the photographs I produced that featured both Saviyon & Shaquille previously, I had made sure that the updated photo-set would have that cut and thrust appeal about them by going beyond the expression, in which I would explore their personalities a little more in-depth.

I also published another photography collection on this day, but this time consisting of my trip up to London on the 26th September 2017, which was a wonderful day considering it was breezy, warm and sunny.

It’s the end of the monthly roundup for December, and also the final monthly roundup of the year and I’m pleased to say I can bring this final monthly roundup to a remarkable close.

Thank you so much, everyone, for such a fantastic 2017, and although we have lost quite a lot of people this year, let’s all take a moment to remember everyone we lost and always value the fact we need to value our time and make the most of the valuable time we all have on this mortal coil we call Planet Earth.

Again, thank you so much, everyone, for such a fantastic 2017, and I shall see you all in 2018. Have a wonderful and Happy New Year and stay safe and wrap up warm. 2018 will be the best year of our lives, and I’m so sure of it. See you in 2018!

Alex Smithson

The Concept of Expression: Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford / Beyond the Expression

Going back to the drawing board with the photographs I previously produced that featured my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I produced some more photographs that follow on from when I photographed my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, of Saviyon & Shaquille.

As I wanted to make sure these photos had that cut and thrust appeal about them, I went beyond the expression by exploring their personalities a little more in-depth. In this case, I wanted to capture off-the-cuff natural facial expressions that Saviyon & Shaquille made, whilst also capturing the essence of their emotions in their facial expressions.

Saviyon & Shaquille’s facial expressions were really natural, and what I feel made this photo set more interesting was the naturalism of their expressions, as I caught them off-guard without them noticing, that was, until I showed them the photographs, of course. They were really pleased with the end result of these photographs, and I too was impressed.

Below are the photographs I produced, featuring my close friend, Saviyon Thomas.

Saviyon Thomas

Shaquille Roachford

These photographs are a notable improvement in my photography skills, but at a later stage, I will want to experiment with portrait photography more, whilst experimenting further with lighting, including the saturation, contrast and more so.

I will be working on this photography series over the course of 2018 but will be making sure to try and find the time, when I can, to photograph more people. In this case, I will be looking to try and photograph some of my friends so that I can gain confidence more with portrait and landscape photography, whilst working much harder behind the camera.

Please let me know if there are any improvements I can make to my photography skills as this will help me to become better at photographing people in the future, as well as becoming better at photographing landscapes, nature and everything else photography-based in general. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Photography Collection Produced: Saturday 5th August 2017

Camera Used: Nikon D3300

Monthly Roundup: August 2017

This month sure flew like clockwork, didn’t it? I’ve been so busy and so productive lately with job-hunting and other things, whilst going out and enjoying myself with friends that it’s officially the end of the month.

I would love to hear how your month went, I am keen to find out whether you enjoyed August, and if not, please feel free to submit your response below in the comments. I would love to hear what you got up to over the course of August.

Without further ado, I will take a look back on the articles I published over the course of August.

1.8.2017 – Welcoming all of you to August, I mentioned that the next few weeks were set to be peaceful, but also a little busy, as I had my next batch of photographs on the way very soon, which would feature a certain someone who is a very close friend of mine.

2.8.2017 – “Should We Change at the Expense of Others?” was my way of getting all of you to see the way I see things from a personal perspective, considering that changing ourselves at the expense of others would mean we would put ourselves in a position where we’re made to change ourselves in order to be socially acceptable to everyone else.

9.8.2017 – A few weeks prior to writing the article: “Croydon Murals Defaced Beyond Recognition”, I spoke about the beautifully exquisite Amy Winehouse: “Tears Dry On Their Own” mural, which was produced by the artist, Bareface, in conjunction with and as commissioned by the RISE Gallery.

I published this article, because on Saturday 5th August 2017, me and two close friends of mine paid a visit to Katharine Street because we wanted to find out if the mural of Amy Winehouse was still in the same finished state it was when I photographed it just a few weeks before.

Sadly, on closer inspection, I was devastated to discover that not only had the mural been defaced, but a grey block and teardrop were drawn just below her eye, with some graffiti etched onto the back of Bareface’s clothing, which ultimately destroyed Bareface’s true work of art.

15.8.2017 – It was a long time coming! Sonic Mania finally arrived and officially marked a nostalgic return to form with the help of Christian Whitehead, Tee Lopes, PagodaWest Games, Lola Shiraishi & Headcannon!

Reliving 26 years of some of the most iconic levels from Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic CD and Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Mania revisited Green Hill Zone with an easter egg of an old landscape that was ditched from the final release of Sonic the Hedgehog, with the zip-line being re-introduced, and a lost level which was meant to appear in the original Sonic games but never got used finally came to Sonic Mania, and that was Mirage Saloon Zone. Studiopolis Zone, which is an all-new level, officially débuted in Sonic Mania with a city-like landscape that made it feel a little like Stardust Speedway, Casino Nights and Carnival Night Zone mixed in.

22.8.2017 – Following on from when I photographed my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I was honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, again, but this time for my photography series: “The Concept of Expression”.

As I look to explore the concept of expression in the subjects I photograph, photographing Oli gave me the chance to explore his personality, regardless of the angle, but more importantly, as body language is a consistent boundary for the subject’s facial expression, photographing Oli again gave me the chance to explore his personality through these photo headshots, as well as his persona, so in this case, because he’s an actor, he puts on a serious face, which makes the photos interesting, considering that being serious really makes him stand out.

Thanks for such a great month everyone. Although it has been quite the busy month, I wanted to take a moment to remember the TV legend and Strictly Come Dancing presenter, Sir Bruce Forsyth, who sadly passed away on the 18th August 2017, but I also wanted to take this opportunity to also pay my full respects to all the victims and all the families who have lost their loved ones as a result of Hurricane Harvey. My thoughts are with all of you at this time.

Again, thanks for a great and busy month everyone and I will see you all in September. To everyone going through Hurricane Harvey, stay strong, but always know I’ll keep you all in my prayers and hope this hurricane ends soon.

Alex Smithson

The Concept of Expression / Oli Regan

Following on from when I photographed my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, again, but this time for my photography series: “The Concept of Expression”.

As I look to explore the concept of expression in the subjects I photograph, photographing Oli gave me the chance to explore his personality, regardless of the angle, but more importantly, as body language is a consistent boundary for the subject’s facial expression, photographing Oli again gave me the chance to explore his personality through these photo headshots, as well as his persona, so in this case, because he’s an actor, he puts on a serious face, which makes the photos interesting, considering that being serious really makes him stand out.

The serious impression and the modelling approach that Oli has taken to make sure the photographs I have produced look visually eye-catching are out of this world. Whilst I remember, keep an eye out for Oli on the latest EE advert that’s been on TV recently. You don’t want to miss it. To spot him, wait for Stormzy‘s song: “Big for Your Boots“, taken from his album, Gang Signs & Prayer, to come on after Kevin Bacon finishes with the word: “INCOMING!” and you should see Oli on the left-hand-side of the screen skanking to Stormzy’s record. It’s a bloody good advert and you will not be disappointed.

Below are the photos I’ve produced of my close friend, Oli Regan.

I am pleased with the way these photographs turned out, but I won’t lie to you, naming each photograph based on the expression and emotion is quite hard, and the photography work I produced when I was at Croydon College is living proof that naming each photo based on the expression and emotion is harder than it looks.

What I will need to improve on is angling the camera when I photograph any subject, so that rather than photograph the subject the way I would usually photograph them, I would need to put the camera up higher, but with the camera angled down a little so that there is little to no head-space on the portrait photographs. These photographs I have produced are really good as they capture the expressions and emotions I wanted Oli to make, but I will be making sure to improve on certain photography-based areas I may or may not be so good

These photographs I have produced are really good as they capture the expressions and emotions I wanted Oli to make, but I will be making sure to improve on certain photography-based areas I may or may not be so good at so that this gives me a better chance next time.

Other than that, I am actually pleased with the overall outcome from these photographs.

These photos will be in my E-Folio so please make sure to check my E-Folio as I will be updating the E-Folio as often as I can.

If you like these photographs I have produced of my close friend, the mental health awareness campaigner and actor, Oli Regan, please leave your comments below. I would love to hear your response and if there are any further improvements I can make for next time, please let me know. I am open to criticism as this will help me to improve the photographs I take for next time.

Alex Smithson

DSLR Used: Nikon D3300

Headshot Photographs / #1 to #10 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Contact Sheets

As I prepare to end my Final Major Project, which comes to a close on Monday 5th June, I have created Contact Sheets for my Final Major Project, which will be in my sketchbook once printed.

All of the Headshot Photographs which consist of my close friends, which are Jonathan McCartney, Steven Geer, Oli Regan, Leonardo Mouza, Terrence Mathew, Mhamad Rauf & Kasra Soltani, are almost ready for the End of Year Show, and all I need to do now is get the photos put on to a large number of slides, timed around 10 to 20 seconds each, and then all that’s left is to finalise my proposal and then the sketchbook annotations, along with the Final Evaluation.

I hadn’t anticipated my last year of college would fly so quick! Time flies when you’re having fun, also when you’re working your socks off to make sure you can achieve the best from the work you produce.

Below are all of the contact sheets from #1 to #10, including the photo edits and black and white versions of the original photographs.

Headshot #1 – Jonathan McCartney

Headshot #1 – Jonathan McCartney / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / Black Backdrop & Red Backdrop

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / WordFoto Edits / Black Backdrop & Red Backdrop

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani / Monochrome (Black & White) / Facial Expressionism Photographs + A Continuation of the First Set of Facial Expressionism Photographs

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

These contact sheets are essential for the project work I have produced, as they cover all of the work I have produced for the Final Major Project and given the fact I have named the photographs, this is beneficial for me as I can prepare for the end of the Final Major Project whilst I prepare a photographic presentation for the End of Year Show.

It’s hard to believe that on Monday 5th June at 11:30 AM, all of the work I have produced will be handed in for what will be the last time. I still cannot get my head around the fact I have only a few weeks left at Croydon College. The time sure flew! School went quick, there’s no denying that, but college, on the other hand, went like a blip!

These contact sheets, which go in conjunction with all of the coursework I have produced, will be viewable in the E-Folio.

Please submit below your response on whether there are any improvements I can make for when I produce photography work similar to the headshot photography work I have produced in the future. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: April 2017

Wow! This month sure flew like the wind. I’ve been so busy with coursework and revision lately that the time has flown! I am so pleased to have got so much coursework done and I’m so glad to have shown all of you the work I have produced for my Final Major Project, including the research I have done for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

Without further ado, I shall now take a look back at the articles I published over the course of April.

1.4.2017 – Welcoming you all to April on Mother Nature, I mentioned that this month would set to be just as relaxing and as peaceful as March, but that it would also be set to be quite the busy month for me, considering I would need to travel to places up in London that I can photograph, including heading to certain galleries in London to further my research and development for the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project that I’ve been working on.

7.4.2017 – The Blossoming Feels of Spring highlighted how wonderful this day was because it was nice and sunny, the temperature was just right. and I had ceased the opportunity to photograph some parts of my garden. I experimented with the ISO frequently to see which ISO setting suited the lighting conditions the best.

8.4.2017 – Nature is Beautiful proved that even Mother Nature herself continued to amaze us and because there was a small breeze in the air with the lovely sunny weather on this day, it was safe to say that this weather was beautiful and that Mother Nature is also beautiful.

9.4.2017 – Inspire to be Positive was my way of inspiring others and to promote positivity, equality and diversity towards everyone, and that we should all drown out negativity and inequality.

11.4.2017 – This day marked the beginning of a new chapter for Windows 10. As Windows Vista officially ended extended support on this day, the Windows 10 Creators Update was officially released. I gave a full run-down on the features I came across in the Creators Update considering that I made the jump to the Windows 10 Creators Update a week early ahead of this day’s official release and mentioned that another major Windows Update was set to be released in the coming months.

15.4.2017 – As it was four years since I last visited Battersea Park, it was safe to say that not a lot had changed since my last visit. During the course of my time that I revisited Battersea Park, I produced a large photographic collection that consisted of my journey to Battersea Park, including perspective photographs that I took throughout certain areas of Battersea Park itself, even though two dogs had caught two of the tennis balls me and my family were using when we played cricket on the large field, which were eventually knackered after a few whacks with the cricket bat.

21.4.2017 – As part of my Final Major Project, I did research on the photographers that influenced me in the photography work I wanted to produce, considering that my Final Major Project is based on Facial Expressionism. The first photographer I researched for my Final Major Project was Fazal Sheikh, as his work aimed to document and even personalise the power of portraiture whilst bringing the displaced parts of the world, including its own people, into focus.

23.4.2017 – Continuing on from the first photographer I researched for my Final Major Project, the second photographer I chose to research was Irving Penn, as he was an American photographer who was best known for his portrait, still life and fashion photography collections, and his photography career consisted of work he produced with the top fashion magazine company, VOGUE, including Clinique and Issey Miyake.

24.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far for my Final Major Project, I started to develop my photography skills further, and the first subject I photographed for my Final Major Project was my good friend, Jonathan McCartney. As Fazal Sheikh & Irving Penn’s photography work inspired me in the development of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, I experimented with a white backdrop on the first set of photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan and acknowledged that some of the emotions might not connect to some of the photographs depending on which way the first headshot photographs were viewed. I also experimented further with the same photographs by converting the photographs into words with the app, WordFoto.

25.4.2017 – Following on from the first set of headshot photographs I took of my good friend, Jonathan McCartney, I presented to you the second headshot photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan, but this time, with a black backdrop, which I must say actually worked much better compared to a white backdrop, and the black backdrop was an idea a close friend of mine suggested to me after he critiqued the Headshot #1 photographs I took of Jonathan. These headshot photographs not only improved my photography skills, but it made a lot of sense to use a black backdrop in these photographs, including any other photographs that I would produce. I made sure to experiment carefully with these photographs by editing them in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) so that they could retain the facial expressions I asked Jonathan to make, as these headshot photographs would tie in with my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, including the research I did so far on the Facial Expressionism photographers, Fazal Sheikh and Irving Penn.

28.4.2017 – Continuing on from the first and second photographer I researched for my Final Major Project, the third photographer I chose to research was Thomas Ruff. Thomas Ruff is a German photographer who lives and also works in Düsseldorf in Germany. As he shares a photography studio with other German photographers, such as Andreas Gursky, Axel Hütte and Laurenz Berges on Düsseldorf’s Hansaalee, the photography studio itself formerly comprised of a municipal electricity station, which was converted between the course of 1998 and 2000 by the architects, Herzog & de Meuron, who are part of Tate Modern fame, with an updated basement gallery that was completed in 2011.

29.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far on the photographers, Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the second subject I chose to photograph for my Final Major Project was Steven Geer. For the Headshot #3 photographs, just like I did with the Headshot #2 photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan McCartney, I had made sure to use the black backdrop again, so that the facial expressions I would get Steven to do wouldn’t just have a real sense of depth, but that the expressions that Steven would make would capture a real sense of emotion. I experimented very carefully with the photographs as these photographs would build on the research I did so far on the 3 facial expressionist photographers; Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn & Thomas Ruff.

30.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far on the photographers, Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the third subject I am honoured to have photographed for my Final Major Project was the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness Campaigner, Oli Regan. For the headshot photographs I took of Oli, I experimented with a black backdrop so that the facial expressions I asked Oli to make would give the emotion from the facial expressions he made more emphasis and more depth. After I photographed Oli with the black backdrop, I then opted to try out a red backdrop, so that I could capture some of the facial expressions again, but this time, I wanted to try and photograph Oli like as if I photographed him for a magazine cover photoshoot.

Thanks so much to all of you for such a fantastic, fun-filled, exciting and fun-filled month. I am so honoured to have shared my photography work and the research I’ve done with all of you. I have noticed I’ve been a whole lot more productive with the work I’ve produced, as well as the research I’ve done and I am so determined to succeed with a much higher grade this time around that I am making sure to work my socks off to get the best grades I want to get before I finish my final year of college at the beginning of July. I will make sure to work hard to succeed and to make sure I end my education on a high note and to also go out with a bang!

Again, thanks so much to all of you for such a fantastic, fun-filled, exciting and fun-filled month and I will see you all in May.

Alex Smithson

Headshot #4 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Oli Regan

Following on from the research I have done so far on the photographers, Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the third subject I am honoured to have photographed for my Final Major Project is the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness Campaigner, Oli Regan.

For these headshot photographs, I experimented with a black backdrop so that the facial expressions I asked Oli to make would give the emotion from the facial expressions he made more emphasis and more depth.

After I photographed Oli with the black backdrop, I then opted to try out a red backdrop, so that I could capture some of the facial expressions again, but this time, I wanted to try and photograph Oli like as if I photographed him for a magazine cover photoshoot.

Canon EOS 1200D / Black Backdrop

Canon EOS 1200D / Red Backdrop

WordFoto Edits (Black Backdrop)

WordFoto Edits (Red Backdrop)

Black & White Edits (Black & Red Backdrops)

Overall, I am so pleased with the end result that has come out of these photographs I have produced and experimenting with a red backdrop has actually helped me to produce better photographs alongside the black backdrop, but it is an absolute pleasure to have worked with Oli Regan and I am absolutely honoured to have photographed him. Oli Regan is such a lovely and down-to-earth guy and you would be absolutely honoured to work with him.

These photographs I have produced will help me to develop my photography skills further and will most certainly inform the creative work, research and headshot photographs I have already produced.

The Headshot #4 photographs I have taken of my close friend, Oli Regan, including the edited versions of these photographs that I produced in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) can be found in my E-Folio.

I would most certainly love to get your feedback on these photographs and please let me know what improvements I can make for when I produce more Facial Expressionism headshot photographs for next time. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

SWEENØ / My Diary of Pain / An Album of Honesty & Power Where Oli Speaks from the Heart, the Mind & the Soul.

It is an absolute honour for me to share with you, my review of Oli Regan’s recently released début album, My Diary of Pain.

As a Mental Health Sufferer who suffers from Bipolar & ADHD, both of which among many other Mental Health conditions, is often overlooked, Oli Regan channels his true feelings, emotions, strength, rawness and energy into this album, My Diary of Pain.

My Diary of Pain certainly is an eye-opener, because it has a sense of power that you can’t quite describe, but the rawness of Oli’s voice on this album really stands out, as he speaks from the heart, the mind and the soul about how he really feels.

When you listen to Oli Regan’s album all the way through, you begin to not only understand and appreciate life more, but you begin to realise that life is filled with pain and that pain can strike you at certain points in your life, but with resilience, care, compassion, support, love and respect, the world can be a better place and that negativity can disappear altogether from all existence.

For Oli, an ambassador for Time to Change, to really put his heart, his mind and his soul into producing My Diary of Pain, you can’t help but appreciate Oli Regan entirely for producing such an interesting and powerful album.

SWEENØ – My Diary of Pain (Official Album Artwork)

Oli’s EP, My Diary of Pain, is really powerful and he has created that cut-throat approach where it’s no fuss, no messing about, just get on with it and for Oli, he’s made sure to highlight that this world is already messed up enough as it is and the only way we can all make it a better place is if we all put in the hard work and graft now and make sure that negativity is completely non-existent and that positivity blossoms in this world.

My words of praise go to Oli Regan (SWEENØ):Oli, keep expressing yourself and keep raising awareness to end this negative stigma that is attached to Mental Health, you’re awesome!

To listen to Oli Regan’s album, click or tap the Play button below to listen to My Diary of Pain.

Trust me, Oli Regan’s album, My Diary of Pain is worth a listen, because it reflects on how he feels about this world and everything else in general and it’s worth a listen.

If you enjoyed my review of Oli Regan (SWEENØ)’s album, My Diary of Pain, please feel free to comment below. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Oli Regan, OnPoint Headshots, SWEENØ 2017

© The photograph used above of Oli Regan (SWEENØ), including the album, My Diary of Pain, the Official Album Artwork of My Diary of Pain and the logo, SWEENØ, are all copyright of Oli Regan, OnPoint Headshots & SWEENØ. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Album Rating: 10 / 10

Mental Health / The Negative Stigma & How it Affects Everyone (feat. Oli Regan)

Let’s face it. We’ve all seen for ourselves the negative stigma that has become attached to Mental Health. The negative stigma has all too often put a strain on all governments and organisations, with Mental Health sufferers having to experience the harsh reality that they may end up not being allowed to access the help, support and treatment they need.

What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is where a person may possibly have a condition that affects their psychological and well-being in the emotional sense.

For instance, there are so many recognised Mental Health conditions that affect more or less everyone, in this case, this can be Anxiety, Depression, Post-Natal Depression, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and even Bipolar.

There are so many recognised Mental Health conditions around that with the correct help, support and treatment available, can help anyone suffering from Mental Health to control the type of Mental Health condition they suffer from.

Is Mental Health Often Ignored?

In the real world, Mental Health is often ignored, which is why the stigma attached to Mental Health all too often creates a negative spiral that sees governments and organisations making little to no effort to provide funding for help, support, treatment and even medical supplies for those who need it the most.

The Mental Health Foundation highlighted that each year, more than 6,000 suicides occur in the UK & Ireland as a result of a lack of funding for Mental Health, with more than 55,000 suicides occurring in the European Union.

The suicide rate for Mental Health sufferers is dangerously high, because again, there is a lack of funding which means that Mental Health sufferers aren’t being provided the help, support and treatment that they need, which ultimately puts any Mental Health sufferer at risk of committing suicide.

Is Social Media Responsible for Creating Problems in Mental Health Sufferers?

The harsh reality is that social media is responsible for creating problems in Mental Health sufferers, because not a day goes by where I am on Facebook & Twitter where I don’t see a positive comment being made about someone who suffers from Mental Health.

I am disgusted by the large number of those on social media who feel it’s okay to make those suffering from Mental Health feel insecure about their appearance, how they act towards others, including what they look like.

Social media is connected to the negative stigma in the personal sense, because when it is not used properly, anyone can make abusive comments about others and that can effectively have a negative impact on the person suffering from that specific Mental Health condition.

Oli Regan’s Experiences With Mental Health

Oli Regan, who is an aspiring actor and ambassador for Time to Change, was just one of many Mental Health sufferers who had struggled to open up about his feelings of loneliness and isolation, both of which he experienced for so many years, which was brought on by bipolar and anxiety, which led him to contemplate suicide, and in some circumstances, he attempted to commit suicide.

Of course, Oli’s experiences with Mental Health affected his wellbeing, and he mentioned in an article he did with TheLADBible as part of the UOKM8? Campaign that: “I just felt weak. Like I wasn’t a real man, I felt like I was missing something. I felt lonely. Completely isolated.

Oli’s experiences with Mental Health enabled him to raise awareness and to give all those who suffer from Mental Health their voice and to make sure that if you’re a Mental Health sufferer, then it’s good to open up and talk about your experiences with Mental Health and how they affect you.

My Experiences With Anxiety

For me, and this is personal to my wellbeing, although I haven’t officially been diagnosed with having a Mental Health condition, I am not ashamed to admit I suffer from Anxiety.

Of course, I often feared that if I opened up to everyone about how I really feel that I would be targeted just for being the man I am in speaking up about how I really feel.

At school, if I cried, I was bullied and all too often, if I spoke to someone in confidence about how I was really feeling, I would be targeted just for being honest and open about how I really felt emotionally.

I often tend to bottle my emotions up but it’s only recently that I did suffer from some anxiety attacks that were brought on by personal problems and heartbreak which caused me to have a panic attack and also break down in tears.

Since that first panic attack and since I broke down in tears during those anxiety attacks, I have been able to open up to everyone and I feel a lot more confident talking to someone about how I really feel, and it gives me peace of mind knowing I can turn to a counsellor and everyone else for support. I am a lot stronger now than I was before and a lot more confident as well as I can speak up a lot more and not be afraid to speak my mind and say how I really feel.

This is the first time ever that I have actually admitted to all of you I suffer from Anxiety and this took a lot of guts for me to open up on my own experiences with Anxiety in general.

Conclusion

I personally feel that the negative stigma attached to Mental Health needs to disappear permanently and that Mental Health should never be ignored.

Governments and organisations should make all the effort possible to put their funding into help, support and treatment for any Mental Health sufferers and to make sure that every Mental Health sufferer gets the help, support and treatment that they need.

One more thing, it’s about time we all open up and say to everyone exactly how we feel, and in a society and any society that tells you to ‘man up’, all societies need to get a grip and realise that Mental Health doesn’t just exist for a reason, but that it exists because we are all born differently and never the same.

If you are a Mental Health Sufferer and you have just one or many of the recognised Mental Health conditions as well as the Mental Health Conditions mentioned here, then please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Recommended Article Worth Looking At (Please Read): Lad Opens Up About Battle With Bipolar And Anxiety And His Attempted Suicide

#TIMETOTALK / Let’s End this Stigma Against Mental Health Once and for All!

As #TIMETOTALK is officially trending on Twitter, Oli Regan has asked me to write this article as today will be about being able to speak up about Mental Health, including the negative stigma that affects and negatively impacts those suffering from Mental Health. Today is Time to Talk Day, and this news came at exactly the right time.

You can catch Oli Regan live on BBC Two at 9:30 AM this morning, and at 10:30 AM, Oli will be appearing on the Victoria Derbyshire Show.

Oli Regan will also be talking about Mental Health at 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM on BBC Newsbeat today, so if you want to help end this stigma once and for all, please make sure to use the hashtag #TIMETOTALK and please also make sure to spread the word and raise awareness for Mental Health.

Alex Smithson

#MENTALHEALTHAWARENESS #TIMETOCHANGE #TIMETOTALK #ENDTHESTIGMA #TIMETOTALKDAY