Nope, the fragile part of me wants to tell you about The Blurt Foundation. I know I'm writing for - and occasionally about - The ADD-vance ADHD and Autism Trust in this 90-day blog, but in Mental Health Awareness Week I want to highlight the fact that we SEN types need to know about help wherever it exists. Why? Because mental health is an ongoing concern and often a major issue for both parents and children when a family member has ADHD or autism. (The statistics on mental illness and suicide rates among the neurodiverse make chilling reading.) If I only manage to share information on one other support organisation this week, I choose Blurt.
I found The Blurt Foundation by accident a good while ago, when I spotted an advertisement for their 'BuddyBox', possibly on Facebook. This is a box of comforts that you can send a buddy in need, or yourself, either on subscription or as a one-off. It turned out that that particular month's BuddyBox wasn't quite right for the friend I had in mind, but I discovered that the BuddyBox was a product sold by a wonderful organisation called The Blurt Foundation. (www.blurtitout.org)
If you've already followed the link above, or looked them up on Facebook, you'll see that their tag-line is 'Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Depression'. Yes, they sell stuff, but they also offer free resources, an online support directory, a really no-nonsense and helpful blog, a Facebook page and - my personal favourite - an e-mail sign-up 'for freebies and kindness'. In December they launch a book called The Self-Care Project, which you can order through amazon or receive in the December BuddyBox. I can't wait. (I would give you the link if I could figure out how to get it from the amazon site, but hey, I can't even turn on my tv.)
While I want to buy everything that The Blurt Foundation sells and follow every link on their website, time and money are both issues for me, as they are for most people. What I love, then, is receiving their e-mails. Generally I take a first look at my day's e-mails when I've dropped the kids to school and am on my way back home (to deal with the wreckage left behind by three boys hunting desperately for the shoes and bags that are right before their eyes). Although leaving them at school for six hours is an inherently joyous event, it's also the moment that the adrenaline burst from the morning chaos wears off, and if it's going to be a 'blah' kind of day, it generally sets in about ten metres from the school gate. So imagine my delight, dear readers, when a message pops up from The Blurt Foundation.
These are not selling messages (although I do get BuddyBox notifications separately). They are just friendly, supportive notes, that sometimes tune right in to what I'm feeling and give me the boost to get myself home for that first cup of tea and the transition into The Rest of The Day. When I'm feeling absolutely fine, the notes make me feel grateful not to need them. (Yep, I'm a bit odd like that.) This is the heart of The Blurt Foundation, as far as I can tell: the gentle nudge to let you know that it's going to be okay, and that you are not alone. They take about five minutes to read, at the most, but if it happens to be the right message on the right day, the words stay with you very much longer. Just looking at the message notifications can be enough. Here are a few recent examples of message notifications and their preview lines:
- It's not you: everything's not your fault
- You're not faking it: we believe in you
- How on earth did it come to this? you are not alone
- Feeling stuck: this is not forever
- Sometimes everything gets too much: there is always another way
- You don't need to be fixed: you're a person, not a problem
- Give yourself a break: you really do deserve it