So here we are ! The 3rd of November, around noon and the new site is go, go, GO! It's about 10 months later than planned (probably more), but it's here now and I hope, with all my heart, that it proves useful to you or someone you know. It's been a labour of love.
I'll admit I thought it was never going to happen, that it would just curl up and die in a little hosted corner of the internet, but it didn't. It's here. It's live. It's a website devoted to men and mental health. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it.
I've talked a little about the site under our About Us page, but given we're relaunching properly today I thought I'd document how we got to here and why it took so long!
Originally this site was just a blog. Just a teeny-weeny little Wordpress blog that I'd use to try and make some kind of sense of the mess that's in my head. There were no other pages on the site other than my posts. If you came looking for something else, you were sadly disappointed. Originally it was on a WordPress site, which was fine. 'Perfunctory' is the word I'd use I think. There was emotion in my words (sometimes), but it was never going to win any design awards. Why would it! Despite the lack of bells and whistles, I loved it. I loved writing it, I loved posting to it, I loved it when people commented. I got some lovely feedback through Twitter (you are following us on Twitter right?) and everything was coming up roses, with just a few stubborn weeds.
As I made my merry way through life, something changed. From posting every day, it became every other day, then every week, every month and then I stopped completely. I stopped doing something that I loved doing. I don't even know why. That's a statement I say a lot with my conditions. I struggle to find answers when they seem to conspicuous. The blog was exactly one of those conundrums.
The strange thing was I was still writing blogs, or ideas for blogs at least. I take a book with me everywhere I go. When an idea pops into my head, I have to write it down or I'll forget. My memory has deteriorated so much in recent years, especially since my breakdown. If, on occasion, I forget to take my book and the lightbulb appears above my head, I firstly check I'm not in a lighting showroom, but if not, I promise myself I'll remember the golden nugget of an idea that has just been generated. All too often, it's a promise I'm destined to break. So blog ideas have been regularly appearing in the pages of my 'bible', but that's as far as they ever got. I think it's time to dust of those scribbled notes and breathe new life into them.
The personal blogs will continue, but I'm also going to try and make them a little more usable for you. I'll still talk about how my conditions make me feel and the whole 'being a bit mental' thing, but I'm going to try and incorporate more blog posts with information that others will (may) find useful. That's the plan anyway!
So despite the faltering promises, I always knew what I wanted Men Tell Health to become. I wanted it to become a beacon in an internet sea of darkness when it came to mental health and specifically men. It's something I've been so incredibly passionate about.
I won't lie. There have been times when I just wanted to give it up. When I thought it would die a long, painful internet-shaped death. Not because I didn't want it anymore, but because I didn't think I could ever do it. There are times when I still don't (or at least didn't), because it's here now. It's alive. Reborn from the ashes of insecurity and faltering confidence.
I wanted to take this opportunity to say a few thank you's to people who helped me along the way to get this site on its feet. First of all I'd like to thank my wife, Jacqueline and son, Benjamin who both put up with me spending long hours away from them get the site written and supplying all the coffee!
Thanks also (in no particular order) to Musab Al Rawahi, James Fish, Vicky Gayle, Martin Feaver, Liv Evans, Sonia Brown MBE, Catherine Haigh, SarahJane Ashcroft, Jonny Benjamin, Neil Laybourn, Alexander Theo, The Finch and all those who have supplied blogs to date and will in the future. This site is nothing without you.
So while the embers are still warm, take a look around. Let me know in the comments below what you think, any and all constructive criticism would be very much appreciated. If there's anything you like (or don't), let us know. Anything you think we're missing, let us know. Anything you think we've got wrong, let us know. Know this weekend's lottery numbers, let us (and only us) know. You get the idea.
If you love social media, you can hit us up across all of that. All the links are over there in blue...NO, not there, over THERE!!! It would be awesome if you could follow us on Instagram or Twitter, Like our Facebook page, +1 us on Google+ (is that still a thing??) or subscribe to our YouTube channel for our regular / very rare video blogs. Get involved.
Let's make this into something we can all be proud of. Share it with your friends, spread the word and let's get men telling their stories to fight the stigma of mental health. There's no 'I' in mental health, but there is a 'me', but really it needs an 'us',