Get to Know: sadface.club
Could you give us a quick introduction to who you are and what you do?
My name is Sienna and I started sadface.club in February this year - a platform to talk and read about mental health. I’m also re:opening my business Baba, a bar in Peckham serving juice, cocktails and dishes celebrating the diverse produce found on Rye Lane.
How do you personally practice self care, if at all?
Cooking, being resourceful with ingredients is a fantastic way to draw parallels with your minds complications and metaphorically problem solve. I’ll be chopping up tomatoes and some will seem to split at the sight of the knife and that will feel like my current mood but they’re still good for sauce! It’s also a great way of being mindful; keeping in the absolute present moment when you’re cooking with gas and having to see a job through, particularly if you have hungry guests and need to produce a plate of something edible at the end. The thing I’ve had to learn is that self care shouldn’t be something you do when you most need it - but a sustainable, preventative strategy that you should implement regularly. Schedule those nights at Bingo into your Gcal.
Is self care a radical act?
sadface has really made me understand opening to those around you on how you are can have unlimited positive effects. Allowing time for self care strengthens individuals, leaders and thus communities, social structures and the economy. Yes it is radical. Frank Ocean’s Boys Don’t Cry and Zayn’s honestly could reduce waiting times in A+Es across the country if it de-stigmatises dialogues around mental health. No, it should not be seen as radical and indulgent but vital and integral to our wellbeing and society.
If people are too anxious to engage with political fights radically/anarchically are they letting the team down?
Carrying out something radically or anarchically doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing it loudly or brazenly. There are a multitude of ways one can be radical and if you are most comfortable doing so anonymously or just quietly on an online platform like sadface, it’s great.
Big cities, especially London, can be overwhelming – what advice would you give to combat feelings of anxiety or inadequacy?
There is scientific evidence that the feeling of being part of a community can dramatically reduce your levels of cortisol (your stress hormone). So if you can’t find a sense of belonging amongst your friends or colleagues- going to the same coffee shop or joining an online community could really help combat low moods. Or to pretend you feel better than you are so you experience walking and talking like a happy person - as long as you don’t smother your feelings!
sadface.club is an online community - how does sharing feelings in this space work?
If you want to get involved, just can just use it as a platform to talk however you want to. Hopefully it’s less daunting because it’s in the context of other people doing so too, not misplaced on a Facebook newsfeed where you don’t want to be seen as earnest.
There is a real spectrum of ailments on the site, and we can learn that there is no one way to grieve or be low, and no one way to help those who are struggling. And coping mechanisms don’t have to be the ones you’ve read on NHS sites.
Why did you want to set up an online space? What difference does online interaction make?
It’s just casual and at the forefront of all the online triggers and that exacerbate insecurities and feelings of loneliness.
What's the best thing that's come out of sfc?
Bringing people and their coping mechanisms together! And discussing ideas with professionals such as neurologists and therapists who have got in touch.
Why do you think seeking help for mental health issues is still surrounded by stigma?
Self care is often seen as an indulgence for those who can “afford” to talk about it, affording a therapist or affording the idea of losing control. Mental health problems can be vastly invisible to many - but perhaps now we’re able to see the effects sick days or unproductivity have on our economy there is more action taken. Maybe we haven’t developed a language or etiquette where speaking about it doesn’t seem cringe or heavy. Maybe we think we’re going to lose our jobs or our partners. If you’re suffering and those around you arn’t giving you the support you need, it’s usually because they don’t know how or they don’t want to interfere.
Do we have to start with ourselves before we can help others?
You can help yourselves by helping others. Sometimes I give out cracking advice that I should definitely put into practise myself.
sadface.club is an open platform to share stories about mental health. It includes: coping mechanisms, not so coping mechanisms, initiatives they've found helpful, and discussions of mental health in the media. No situation is too big or too small. They share their thoughts, read others and realise the struggles are real for everyone.
They want to challenge the formality, anonymity, shame and burden that talking about mental health still holds. They're also collecting opinions from people visiting the site. you can fill out our survey, it's anonymous. If you need help, you can also check out their comprehensive list of mental health charities and helplines.