Meet the young blogger raising awareness of mental health issues within the black community
Luli Ade is 26, from East London, and works as a freelance blogger interested in raising awareness of mental health issues within the black community. After her brother was diagnosed with depression, Luli created a platform for black men living in London to share their experiences. We caught up with Luli to find out what she’s learned, what inspires her and who is currently playing on her headphones.
Hello Luli, what are your plans today?
I will be heading to East London to visit my mum and then to Central London for a meeting.
Are you studying or working?
I’m currently working as a freelance blogger which I love doing! After my older brother was diagnosed with depression, I started a photo blog on social media to interview individuals from the black community about their experiences with mental health.
I started the blog because I wanted to raise awareness of mental health issues within the black community but most importantly because I wanted to show my brother and other black men who may be struggling with their mental health that they are not alone. I think it is important to do this as in the black community mental health is stigmatised and is not spoken about.
What have you learnt from interviewing people on the issue of mental health?
By interviewing different individuals about their mental health one thing I’ve learned is that everyone who struggled with it felt much better after reaching out to someone, this could be a friend, family member or a professional, nonetheless they felt better which is why I thoroughly encourage anyone who may feel like they are alone or helpless, to share what they’re going through with someone they feel comfortable with.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to Jhené Aiko’s latest album “Trip” I find it very relaxing and great to unwind to.
What are you reading?
I love thrillers so I’ve been reading a book recommended to me by my sister called “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, its a great read so far.
What are you watching at the moment?
I’m watching a series on Netflix called “Suits” I really enjoy watching legal dramas such as “the good wife” and “scandal” so I thought I’d give it a go.
What would constitute as a perfect day for you?
A perfect day for me would be really relaxed and chilled. I try to avoid stress at all times so It would probably involve me staying at home, cooking or cleaning, and then settling down in the evening with a good read or listening to some music.
For what in life do you feel most grateful?
I feel most grateful for my family, I have an older brother and sister and we all have a close bond. My mother is also someone who I have a very close relationship with and she does a fantastic job at guiding me on this journey called life.
Complete the sentence: “Ace mental health, for me, means…”
Being able to openly express when you’re feeling both happy and sad, the key thing is to not be scared to tell someone you’re not okay and also accepting that sometimes you will have good times and bad times, and that’s fine!
What do you do to try and stay mentally healthy?
To stay mentally healthy I try to surround myself with positivity at all times and embrace who I am, I like to think of myself as a free spirit and therefore don’t feel the pressure to have to conform to the “norm” or whatever society says is the acceptable way to be. I avoid any form of stress and most importantly always try to speak out when I’m feeling low, I also avoid social media when I have down days and instead listen to my favourite artists or simply pray.
Who inspires you and why?
The person who inspires me is my mother. She has taught me a lot and never fails to show compassion and love especially when I’m struggling with my mental health, she doesn’t really understand “mental health” and the battles that one could have with it, but she tries her best regardless to support me, which is all I could ask for.