World Mental Health Day is here so there is no better time to kickstart our #happinessproject2016. Our campaign objective is to break the stigma around mental health by sharing stories, spreading helpful messages and throwing positive vibes into our ONE community.

To get the #happinessproject2016 off the ground, our founder Beau Carruthers has opened up about his own journey combatting mental health issues. Take a minute to read his tips below.

BEHIND THE SCENES with Beau.

While I’m not a professional writer or expert in the field, I do feel like I have something to share when it comes to mental health. I don’t claim to know all the answers, but what I can do, is talk about my personal experience in combatting mental health issues. From what I’ve tried, what has worked, what has helped me in the past and what helps me now.

I have discovered a lot on this journey and now I want to offer some of the tips I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Speak up. Getting help starts with talking. I promise you there is someone close to you that cares. A friend, a family, a teacher, the lollypop lady, a work colleague. There are good people in this world and they are all around us. Don’t be scared or embarrassed. The bravest, most courageous people I know are those who can talk about their feelings with others.

2. Stay with it. You need to work hard on your commitment to yourself and your health. You can get all the support and advice you need but it’s up to you to learn and implement the skills required to get healthy. There are organisations out there that want to help you by listening, offering support and providing information that can help you find answers. Reach out to them; you are significant and people care. Two that I recommend are Lifeline and A Stitch in Time.

3. Trust your instincts. Don’t rely on everyone else to know what is best for you. Take advice, receive information, but make your own decisions. You will ultimately know what path is going to be best suited to you and your circumstances. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle has been my bible in becoming self-aware and getting to know myself better.

4. Ditch the negativity. Workplace, friends, family – are you surrounded by the right people? Are you happy with your life situation? Consider whether your environment is right for you, and if not make a plan to change it.

5. Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It gets you out into the world and reduces feelings of isolation, keeps you in touch with people in the community. It is proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

6. Maintain a healthy diet. Recent evidence suggests that good nutrition is essential for our mental health, and that a number of mental health conditions may be influenced by dietary factors. A balance mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.

7. Get a pet. My dog Tex is my best friend and offers me ongoing and unconditional love and support. The benefits of pets are endless: they get you into nature and elevate your mood, reduce stress through rhythmic patting, they distract you, and offer companionship and lessen the feelings of isolation. Most importantly, pets give you purpose. By caring for your pet, you are focussing on something other than yourself.