IGB in the News

It Gets Brighter – China is in The Economist!

6th July 2016, United Kingdom


It Gets Brighter – China has been mentioned in the Economist, within an article tackling stigma of mental illness in China. The print edition entitled the article ‘Ending the Shame’, or it can be found online as ‘China wakes up to its mental health problems.’

In this article, our own Xu Ni is quoted discussing how medical students worry that working with psychiatric patients will mean that they ‘catch’ a mental illness. We are so proud of his work to eliminate stigma like this, and glad that we can work in an area which seems to be waking up to the realities faced by those who suffer mental illness.

App tells young people It Gets Brighter.

6th July 2016, United Kingdom

Graduate students at Oxford have launched an app to help people with mental illness. It Gets Brighter builds on an existing website designed to offer support to young people who might not have access to more traditional support services, or who might feel cultural or social pressures to hide their true feelings.

It Gets Brighter (IGB) enables people to watch videos where individuals explain their experience of mental illness and how they have managed to get through it. The aim is create a virtual community of support, offering hope and reassuring people that they are not alone.

The app also assists people who want to offer support, with a step by step process helping them create an effective video in a straightforward way. The new app is available free for Android and Apple devices.

Since its launch in January 2015, IGB has created a thriving online community of hope and support for young people struggling with mental health issues. The online platform at itgetsbrighter.org allows visitors to search a library of around 80 videos sharing stories and messages of hope and support for those suffering with a mental health challenge.

Since the campaign launched, IGB has received messages from people living in Canada, Australia, UK, USA, Lebanon, China, Germany and Egypt. IGB has received endorsements from celebrities such as Stephen Fry, and video messages from the Archbishop of Canterbury and comedian Ruby Wax among others.

Co-founder Emma Lawrance explained that she and colleague Joshua Chauvin saw a need for people experiencing mental health challenges to have role models. She said: ‘People need to see the possibilities for recovery that are not prevalent in the ‘doom and gloom’ cultural narrative surrounding mental illness. Struggling with a mental health issue at a young age can be both isolating and create uncertainty about how this may narrow life possibilities.’

Campaign Ambassador Nicole Gibson, a National Mental Health Commissioner in Australia said, ‘When I was experiencing anorexia as a teenager, I felt completely alone and misunderstood by my family and friends. When I looked online for information I just found pro-anorexia groups. If I had been able to watch IGB videos then, and hear from an online community showing that there was a better way that my life could go, it would have made a real difference.’

As well as message of thanks from people who have experienced mental health challenges, and their families and friends, attributing improvements in mood and decisions to IGB, the campaign has also had a positive impact on those who have shared their video messages.

Daniel Morris recorded a video: ‘After making my video for It Gets Brighter, I was stunned by how many individuals opened up to me about their experience of mental illness.  Speaking openly about successfully managing mental ill health can serve as a catalyst for the recovery of others.  Mental illness can make individuals feel incredibly isolated, and video messages have the potential to reach into the lives of those struggling and show them that they are not alone, that there is hope, and that recovery is possible.’

IGB’s achievement  in the youth mental health space was recently recognised by an invitation to present at the World Bank Group and World Health Organisation’s Innovation Fair, as part of the April 2016 ‘Out of the Shadows: Making Mental Health a Global Priority’ meeting.

Emma Lawrance said: ‘The powerful voices of support on our site consistently demonstrate that a mental health challenge does not need to be identity defining. Everyone is more than their illness. With the right support and a community of acceptance, future possibilities are very bright indeed!’

For more information about It Gets Brighter, visit itgetsbrighter.org or contact the team at itgetsbrighter@gmail.com. The App is available for iOS devices here, and available here for Android.