There’s no denying that mental health is slowly becoming much less of a taboo talking point on YouTube. The upside of this is that more and more creators are willing to speak out about their personal issues – but this also means the realisation that some of our most unexpected favourites have been quietly struggling behind the scenes.
After opening up on Twitter about his anxiety and depression, YouTube OG Charlie McDonnell posted a vlog yesterday that revealed he has been dealing with mental health issues since he was 16 – around the same age he began posting videos to the site as “charlieissocoollike“.
“Part of the reason I’m nervous to talk about this is because there’s a certain amount of ‘bumming out’ you’re allowed to do on YouTube,” confesses Charlie. “It’s okay to have problems in videos, so long as you can find a way at the end to say you’re ‘getting through’.”
Charlie discusses the stigma around opening up about mental health, the importance of separating yourself from illness, and of course the unnerving “manufactured authenticity” of YouTube that makes being open and honest on the site feel so strange.
“Medication helped me realise that it was an illness,” Charlie admits. “You are taking a pill for an issue that you have, so it’s not a part of you.”
“Separating those two things – me from the illness – was very important for me personally.”
Of course after posting his vlog, Charlie received an outpouring of support from the creator community – a sign that hopefully the stigma behind “bumming out” on YouTube with mental health talk is a thing of the past.
“If you’re going through similar things as well, I feel ya,” signs off Charlie. “I really do.”