At 14, Carney Bonner suffered extreme cyber-bullying. His experiences led him to self-harm, seeing him in and out of hospital. This experience left lasting implications on his mental health, and at only 15, Carney decided to fight against the very thing that held him back.
7 years on, Carney is entering his final year studying International Business Studies at the University of Gloucestershire. Carney has juggled this with leading a successful cyber-bullying campaign, and created programmes for teachers that can be seen in over 1,000 schools. Talking to schools and colleges nation-wide, Carney set up work shops using real life stories and case studies to illustrate the effects of cyber bullying. Taking lessons from his work in this campaign, Carney has moved onto his latest campaign.
The Believe. Build.Together has gathered support with the likes of o2, Sony and vodaphone offering money to help fund their movements. The aim? To break the taboo surrounding mental health and it’s implications.
Carney Bonner started the campaign to get people to talk and receive help. “There’s a stereotype around mental health that if you’re a victim or an ex-victim, then you can’t really do anything. We want to take away that label and actually say that you can still achieve your dreams and goals. We want to take away this stigma that people live with.”
Carney’s focusing on the 16-25 age group. This is because people are “finding themselves and social groups”, “finding where their personality fits in” and “going to university and leaving home for the first time.” Ultimately, Carneys campaigning to put measures in place to give the right care and facilities.
This isn’t all. According to youngminds.co.uk, one in four (26%) of young people have suicidal thoughts. There’s also been a 70% increase in depression and anxiety since the mid 1980’s. With growing pressures online, this can also result in declining mental health, as illustrated by Carney.
Carney feels generating understanding is paramount to the recovery of those with mental health issues. “If you can understand mental health, you see that this illness is something they have to fight with every day. The more they can do this, the more we can help them in their recovery process. The main hope for this campaign is to become nation wide, we have a five year plan and we hope to see this up there with our other campaigns.”
Events are in the pipeline consisting of pop up events in places such as the Regent Arcade, with talent shows, flash-mobs and gigs for fundraising purposes. Believe.Build.Together will be having their first event at the Frog and Fiddle on Friday 11th, with music acts on and fundraisers supporting the cause.