We know that people sharing their experiences of mental health problems is one of the most powerful ways to change attitudes. Journalists are always looking to speak to people with personal experience of mental health problems to bring their stories to life, so contacting your local media is a great way to get your story out there.
1. Decide the outlet.
Do you want to share your story with the local newspaper, radio, TV station?
2. Pick the journalist.
You might want to think about which journalist is right for you. News desks are looking for news, for example if you’re hooking your story to an awareness day or something happening in the news agenda. If there isn’t a news angle, you might want to look for a ‘features’ journalist.
3. Call or email.
The contact details for most media outlets should be readily available on the website. Explain that you’d like to share your story. When you first make contact, try and be concise. Don’t be disheartened if the journalists doesn’t want to stay on the phone for long. They work to tight deadlines and may not have time to listen to your whole story straight away. If this is the case, you could suggest calling at a more convenient time or following up with an email. If they would like to conduct an interview you might want to ask the journalist if you can see the article before it’s published, though this isn’t always possible.
Once your interview is set up, there's some further steps you can take to prepare...
1. Think about what you want to say
Take a few minutes ahead of your interview to think about anything you want to say and topics you don’t want to discuss. Briefly preparing beforehand can help you to focus on key points you want to get across and relevant experiences you want to share. Preparation can also help you to figure out and stick to your boundaries. This is your interview, and it is your choice how much or how little you want to go into your experiences. If something comes up which you don’t feel comfortable answering then ask to move onto the next question.
2. Take a movement to say it out loud
You might want to try going over what you want to say with someone you are close to or in a mirror. You don’t need to rehearse lines – the best interviews are ones which sound natural – but speaking out loud can help you to feel more confident when it comes to speaking with a interviewer.
3. Be yourself
They are interested in your story and in what you have to say. Remember, you are speaking as an individual, and not as a spokesperson for Time to Change, which means you don’t have to remember lots of information about the campaign or what we do. It’s about sharing your own experiences. In doing so, you will be helping us to change people’s attitudes and behaviors towards those of us experiencing a mental health problem.
Let someone you’re close to know you are doing the interview just in case you need a bit of support after. It can be upsetting revisiting certain experiences, so it can be good to catch up with someone you trust afterwards and debrief.