24 July is the Samaritans Awareness Day called ‘Talk to Us’ and with that in mind we have chosen Hussain Manawer as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.
Hussain is an acclaimed poet, writer, actor and activist and has supported the Samaritans for many years as part of his mental health campaigning.
In March 2017, Hussain set a Guinness World Record, partnered with Kings College London and supported by the Samaritans, for the world’s largest mental health lesson which included 538 pupils from local schools.
Later that year, he launched an EP during Mental Health Awareness Week entitled Am I Going Too Deep, with 36p from every download donated to Samaritans. He also teamed up with Samaritans to launch his short video Playground to mark World Mental Health Day which encourages adults to think back to a time when life was simpler, looking back to his own childhood.
In 2018 Hussain received an Honorary Fellowship from Kings College London for his mental health campaigning work. The fellowship came at a time when he had just launched the UK’s largest mental health youth festival in partnership with Twitter – #HussainsHouseLive.
He also supported the Big Listen campaign, to spread the word that listening can be the first step to saving a life. He kicked off the conversation with an appearance on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live. Hussain performed a specially written poem called Indirect Emotion, about learning how to listen to and support a friend who’s struggling.
In January 2019 Hussain supported the Brew Monday campaign to speak out about loneliness and encourage people to reach out to support each other in a specially produced film and in 2020 Hussain contributed to the How to Listen book where he was interviewed about his own personal experiences.
May 2022 saw the debut publication of Hussain’s poetry collection – Life is Sad and Beautiful. Launched during Mental Health Awareness Week with various book signings and screenings of short films bringing the poems to life, the book is a Sunday Times Bestseller.
To find our more about the Samaritans see here
To find our more about Hussain’s work see here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgmK4cNlAUSt3MwwiyAMU9w