29, MODEL AND ACTIVIST
‘Studying psychology and psychotherapy at university, I had a textbook knowledge about the mechanics of mental health. But it’s only in the last year that I’ve understood my own.
When my father died four years ago, I pushed myself to achieve in my studies and at work to distract from the pain. When a long-term relationship broke down, the anxiety I’d been trying to outrun for years finally caught up with me. As a blogger and campaigner, my job was all about connecting with people at events, but some days I was too afraid to leave the house.
It took a friend inviting me to a hot yoga class to turn things around. When the hour was up, I looked a mess, but felt lighter than I had done in weeks. I went back the next day – and the next. Something clicked in my brain and body; I realised how much exercise meant to me, and it’s been a vital part of my toolkit since.
It’s been more than a year since I walked into that yoga class, and I finally feel ready to open up about my journey. I regularly give talks to young people about mental health, and I’ve never wanted my personal story to outweigh the tools I’m teaching them.
But I asked myself: why am I going to keep my story hidden? I’ve learned first-hand how to take care of my mind and that’s not something to keep quiet about.’ Jada is an ambassador for Young Minds UK; youngminds.org.uk
‘Taking care of my mind is not something I’ll keep quiet’