Hussain manawer standing with student after giving talk

Hussain Manawer talks to students for Mental Health Awareness Week

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual week-long celebration to raise awareness of mental health issues and how we can achieve and maintain good mental health, Hussain Manawer paid a visit to White Lodge to speak to our students.

Hussain is a globally acclaimed poet, mental health advocate, and producer, and has collaborated with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Oprah Winfrey, David Beckham, and national and international media to speak out on many issues around mental health. We were lucky to have him give some poetic wisdom and advice to our students about mental health. 

After reading some of his poetry, Manawer spoke about the importance of failure:

It’s so important to fail. You learn more from losing than you ever do from winning. If you can look at failure just as much as success, you won’t ever be afraid to fail. This means you won’t be scared of trying, and then you’ll grow. That’s what we all need to be doing. Sometimes, we’re scared to do things because we think we will fail, but there’s no point in doing that.

Our students wanted to hear what advice he would give to someone dealing with mental health issues:

Number one is to be kind to yourself. It’s so easy for us to find negative things. Sometimes, my brain does it automatically. I could be having the best day, and I’ll find a way to make it go wrong. I will volunteer to mess up my day, to upset myself.

Secondly, if you can identify what is upsetting you or causing you harm, then you are in a position to deal with it. You must have a favourite teacher, someone you trust. Reach out to that person and talk to them. The longer these feelings stay inside us, and we don’t talk about them, the less helpful they are. You don’t deserve that; you deserve to feel alive.

Hussain also spoke about learning to develop coping mechanisms:

Identify your patterns. When I self-sabotage or do something harmful to myself, I know exactly how to cope with it. If I can identify the pattern, I can develop a healing habit to help combat it.

Thank you, Hussain, for your time and insights.