This week we spoke to Marcus Tisson the founder of an online mental health awareness organisation called Don’t Suffer In Silence (DSIS), they aim to spread awareness across the globe through their platforms and help as many people as they can. Sharing images, videos and personal stories are just a few of the ways Marcus along with DSIS get involved with the communities. They host fund raising events aimed for charities and hope to one day become a fully fledged charity under the name of “Don’t Suffer In Silence“.
What is Don’t Suffer In Silence
Don’t Suffer In Silence is a campaign with the initiative to spread mental health awareness to help people across the board. We have a DSIS website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, people share their stories about their illness and experiences with mental health through through our channels. I personally post videos of myself as I suffer with anxiety and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), so I create videos showing how I’m feeling, to show the people we’ve reached out to that its normal to have these feelings and that talking out to people (someone) is a must… Don’t suffer in silence. If I’m feeling a bit low it also helps me; its part of my process with my mental health. Also we raise money for Mind charity and Bedazzle charity. In essence right now DSIS’s main focus is to raise money for charities and awareness to the masses.
I started DSIS almost one year ago (2016) on August 21st after my Mum sadly committed suicide by method of train and only a month later my Dad passed too and he had suffered with mental health issues through all my life. After that I decided I didn’t want anyone else to have to suffer how they did. I called it “Don’t Suffer In Silence” because no one knew how my mum was feeling before she came to her decision, meaning she was suffering in silence so to speak, which is exactly what I don’t want to happen anymore; especially in the Caribbean community, it’s almost seen as a taboo and we would love to end all the stigma of being strong and not being able to share emotions in certain cultures. I just want to show that no ones alone and there are ways to get through mental illnesses and no one has to suffer in silence.
What do you want people to learn from your story
Open up, I want people to open up, talk to someone, talk to family, friends, anyone; call up mind charity and other hotlines, they are there to help, because if you don’t and you keep it in one day it may end as badly as it did for my mum. It’s hard to suffer in silence and I don’t want anyone to go through that or experience the ripple effect that the family go through. I don’t want that to happen to anyone else.
Is there a lack action for the older generations
Definitely, the older generation don’t understand mental health, they’re stuck in their old ways and feel that mental illness isn’t real because you can’t physically see the damage, there are no broken bones or scans to show where and what the issue is. I think they need to get more educated on the whole topic, I want DSIS to spread beyond social media to the older generations and I want us to be able to go round to older peoples homes and talk to them like a buddy system. They loose wives, husbands and other loved ones with age unfortunately which can lead to depression and other feelings they shouldn’t be keeping locked up.
Tell us about the events you hold and what they do for the cause
We had a very successful Gala in June this year (2017) at the River Side Plaza Canary Warf hotel, which was great, we sold out. It involved a three course meal, good vibes, all around support and we had a few influencers to talk about their experiences and other crucial information surrounding the topic of mental health. A few celeb appearances happened too, Vanessa Feltz, Adam Deacon, a few people from “TOWIE”, Jamie Reed and Jade lewis, Phats and Small, DJ Luck and MC Neat. The amount of messages we received after the event was overwhelming the awareness spreading was amazing and evident, we plan to hold one every year now.
Talk and trim is coming up soon, a local barber shop has teamed up with us for men to come in of all cultures, ages and life situations to come in and get their hair cut; the funds from the cuts will all go towards our next large event at the end of the year as we are a non-profit organisation and we have to gain our funding on our own. We plan to talk about mental health and mental illnesses again to spread awareness, but also to enjoy the atmosphere with good barber shop vibes, conversation, familiar faces and gain a good support network going in the community.
On December the 6th we have an event called stand up for mental health at the Back Yard Comedy Club in Bethnal Green. We have some of the top urban comedians coming to perform, as I believe laughter is a healer of the mind when I’m happy my anxiety and everything starts to disappear. The comedians we have performing are Slim, Love4theink, White Yardie, Mocomedian, Axel Blake, Judy Love, Ade and I (Shabba) will also be making my debut stand up set at the event.
Has there been much progress since mental health became a more public subject
I don’t feel like there has been much progress, especially since these celebrities who are mass influencers that come out in mental heath week saying they support everything and experience it all too do not continue to campaign after the public week is over… it needs to be more consistent and it needs to be thrown in peoples faces, knock down doors and shouted from the rooftops. In 2017 social media is the biggest platform you can get it covers the world and everyone’s on it, yet hardly anyone uses it to help people.
What are the signs to look out for in family and friends and how can we help
Sleeping, if someone is sleeping a lot or on the contrast not sleeping enough (insomnia), mood swings are also common, if someone is usually happy and it quickly and randomly changes to angry or short tempered and continues over a period of time. Hygiene, a drastic change in personality; If someone’s usually loud and starts being withdrawn. Rambling and not making sense, lying a lot.
To help someone, talk to them, don’t judge and listen to them. Ask them to seek help, don’t ever force them and let them do it at their own pace. As family and friends get together and do what best to help them open up, meet up, talk and don’t distance yourself or change how you are with them. If you feel that they might harm themselves or others get the system involved to avoid that as a last resort.