Rethink Mental Illness (@Rethink_)| Champion Danielle Discusses Invisible Struggles


I Am Hip Hop Magazine is thrilled to be involved in year 2 of char­ity Rethink Men­tal Ill­ness’s annu­al youth men­tal health aware­ness con­fer­ence. Rethink’s Youth Well-being day will be on Decem­ber 2nd 2017 at The Lyr­ic, Ham­mer­smith, along­side our Rap Ther­apy work­shop (facil­it­ated by Apex Zero) there will be a num­ber of organ­isa­tions run­ning work­shops through­out the day to pro­mote pos­it­ive well-being. 

We catch up with Rethink’s cham­pi­on Dani­elle to find out more!

Tell us a bit about your­self

My name is Dani­elle. I am 25 years old and I love live music, dan­cing, good vibes, my bicycle and wood­lands.

Can you tell us a bit about your exper­i­ences with Men­tal Health?

I have long battled with depres­sion and anxi­ety. I used to struggle with self harm and use drugs and alco­hol to self med­ic­ate. I would say 14 is when I star­ted to notice prob­lems, par­tic­u­larly around depres­sion.

What top three ways have you found help improve your men­tal health?

For me it’s been a long pro­cess of find­ing what works. At the moment talk­ing ther­apy, stay­ing social and keep­ing act­ive are what I would say help the most.

I am Hip Hop are run­ning the rap ther­apy work­shop this year at the con­fer­ence. From past exper­i­ence, how has pen­ning down your thoughts through poetry/ Hip Hop helped improve your men­tal Health?

Hip Hop music to me is all about over­com­ing adversity and express­ing the pain, but also being con­fid­ent through it all. Listen­ing to hip hop helps me with affirm­ing myself and build­ing my con­fid­ence.

It can be frus­trat­ing some­times when I com­pare myself to oth­ers, but when I feel a burn­ing desire and get some­thing down the pro­cess is exhil­ar­at­ing. My favour­ite poem I did was a rework of dear mama which I wrote for my mum as a present for  moth­ers day . It was about my men­tal health and how she sup­por­ted me. I got to reflect on how far I’d come in my jour­ney in quite a cath­artic way and also tell her how much she meant to me.

What are the top 3 Hip Hop tracks that have helped you through dif­fi­cult times?

Eminem- Beau­ti­ful

Nas- If Heav­en Was a Mile Away

Mobb Deep- Shook Ones

Tell us a bit about how you are involved with Rethink?

I am a Step Up Cham­pi­on which means I get the chance to co-pro­duce work­shops and resources which help young people devel­op use­ful tools to main­tain their men­tal health.


You were also present at last year’s con­fer­ence. What was the response like?

I was part of the Step Up Work­shop but I heard feed­back from the Rap ther­apy work­shop and it soun­ded amaz­ing. I am actu­ally going to par­ti­cip­ate in it this year because I don’t want to miss it again.

What do you think we could do to improve men­tal health aware­ness amongst young people?

I think con­tinu­ing to meet them in the space that they are at and open­ing up dia­logue. But also using the medi­ums they respond to such as music, sport and even  fash­ion.

What are you cur­rently work­ing on?

I star­ted work­ing on a piece for an antho­logy called The Col­our of Mad­ness, which is about BAME (Black, Asi­an and Minor­ity Eth­nic) exper­i­ences with men­tal health, so keep a look out for that.

Sign up for your FREE place to the Invis­ible Struggles Youth Well-being day on Decem­ber 2nd 2017. For more details and regis­tra­tion click here.  

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.