Louise, founder of Reclaim

In 2016 , as a student at Nottingham J-Soc, I approached UJS with an idea, which was for them to run a mental health campaign. This was a few months after I had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and only close family and friends knew about it. But why? Why was I embarrassed to tell people? I realised that I'd had enough and knew I needed to speak out about it.

It’s often difficult to speak out about mental health, especially within the Jewish community. What I couldn’t understand was why that is. It’s perfectly normal to talk about physical health over the Shabbos table, but for some reason mental health is a shady subject.

I’m not one to be told not to do something and so I approached UJS. From this, I proposed a motion at conference, the first time I had publically spoke about my illnesses and the first time I had ever really volunteered to do public speaking. The motion passed unanimously and UJS was mandated to do work on mental health awareness.

So Reclaim was born - reclaiming the conversation around mental health. We focussed on strong social media with vlogs from students with lived experience of mental illness as well as an online noticeboard where people could anonymously post their thoughts. In addition, we had former Shadow Minister for Mental Health Luciana Berger at our flagship event in London and alumni speaking at other events around the country.

Reclaim 2016 was fantastic, and 2017 was even better. But we can always do more, so Reclaim is back for 2018.

It’s time to reclaim the discussion around mental health. Welcome to Reclaim.

If you would like to write a blog or record a vlog for Reclaim, please get in touch using the Contact form - we'd love to hear from you.