Home Features Interview: Aoife Keane reveals why MiMind is such an important event

Interview: Aoife Keane reveals why MiMind is such an important event

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This Friday night MiMind 2016 will take place – an award-winning event focused on mental health in Ireland and speaking openly.

Top bloggers and influencers from all over the country will be attending the event, with speakers like Miss Goss.ie Colleen O’Reilly, Doug Leddin, Eanna Walsh and MORE.

We sat down with MiMind organiser Aoife Keane to chat about the event.

Aoife Covet Mimi - MiMind

Organiser: Aoife created MiMind

Why did you choose to start MiMind and organise a night dedicated to speaking about mental health in Ireland?

This is a really good question & I have been asked a lot recently.

I set MiMind up around this time last year because it was a subject extremely close to my heart. I mean, let’s be honest – most of us have suffered with mental health in some form, may it be stress, anxiety or depression and unfortunately many of us know someone that has been a victim of suicide. I guess I wanted to try and not only help myself but help others to speak up too.

From recently entering into the social media world and starting up my online jewellery business Covet Mimi, I began to notice just how much power bloggers had from advertising products and services and I saw an opportunity to utilise that power for a different reason – to help break the stigma attached to mental health & get people talking.

What were you hoping to achieve

When I organised my first event in February 2016 I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t even know if people would show up or if it would be a success. But luckily over 240 people did show up and it was a massive success. For me my success was measured by hearing stories of people who attended the event, who then went on to tell their own stories or at least open up to their nearest & dearest – that’s what success is! MiMind itself then went on to win an award at the Irish Bloggers Association for Best in Biz – Best Event 2015 which was a massive honour.

For my upcoming event this Friday Night in Opium, Dublin 2 – MiMind has managed to increase its numbers hugely with over 600 people now registered which is so amazing to see.

We have some big Irish names already on board from all areas of life – From Miss Ireland’s to Olympians. The support we’ve received from both businesses and people is really amazing to see and I feel like the awareness we’re going to bring to Mental Health in Ireland can only snowball from here and hopefully get people talking.

Doug Leddin - MiMind2016

Speakers: Doug Leddin will speak at the event

For me the main aim for the MiMind event is to get people talking, really broadcast the message to the social media community & their followers that it’s ok not to feel ok and just encourage the conversation around mental health. The more people talk about their own mental health – the more the stigma is reduced.

Why did you call the event MiMind?

Coming up with a catchy name took a lot longer than I’d like to admit. As I mentioned my online jewellery company is called Covet Mimi so my hopes were to try and keep the names linked in some way.

By playing around with the spelling and wording MiMind came to be and it still allowed me to keep a link to my brand which was important to me

Aoife Covet Mimi - MiMind

Business: Aoife owns jewellery company Covet Mimi

How important do you feel it is to speak about mental health?

One of the most important things we can do is to do is speak about mental health, whether that’s talking about ways to maintain good mental health, discussing your mental illness or anything in between. It’s good to talk and it’s often the first step in recovery if you are suffering.

Getting the message out there that it’s ok to talk or ask for help has such importance. We want to let people know that there are others out there who are in the exact same boat as you, you’re never alone. Sometimes we think that what we’re going through, no one else could possibly know how it feels or no one will care… Speaking is the only thing that will bring change, and of course I do 100% realise it won’t all change magically for people by speaking up but it’s definitely the right place to start.

Why did you choose to make this an event solely for bloggers/influencers?

I chose to invite bloggers and social media personalities as I realised collectively as a social media community we had the power to reach a lot more people than we would if it was just the general public.

Having an blogger attend MiMind who say has 100k followers is a massive reach compared to someone from the public who has only 500 followers – that means the message of “it’s ok to talk” reaches a lot more people, and that’s what we want.

The idea is our social media influencers will go away from our night and tell their own story to all of their own followers, using social media as a platform and hopefully get the message out there.

I understand posting your own personal story on social media for the world to see isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if one in every five people attending MiMind did it might inspire ten of their followers to go talk to a friend, or parent and that’s all I can really ask for. Giving the people the motivation to ask for help.

I am currently working on some big plans for MiMind & my hopes are that we will be in a position to open it up to the general public in the near future.

Colleen O'Reilly was crowned Miss Goss.ie

Speakers: Miss Goss.ie Colleen will speak on Friday

How do you think social media influencers/bloggers have the platform to encourage the conversation?

Social media influencers and bloggers have the same platform to encourage the conversation regarding mental health as they do to review the next beauty product or health trend.

Some influencers have the power to sell out certain products and I’ve seen it happen with my own business – so why not utilise that power for something different, something we’re all affected by in some form. Why not come together as a community and use that influence for the greater good and get the message across that it’s ok to talk or ask for help. I mean, we all have bad days, that’s life unfortunately, even the glamorous bloggers of Instagram have bad days, but it’s how we manage the rollercoaster of life that will get people through those highs and lows.

Does Mental Health need to be discussed more in Ireland?

Mental health has always been a massive subject but has only become more dominant in the media of recent thanks to people like Bressie, Shane Gillen, Doug Leddin and The Rubberbandits (just to name a few).

I think we’re on the right road regarding talking openly about it but we’re not there yet.

We as a population can continue the conversation and try break the stigma attached to mental health – and that’s what #MiMind2016 is trying to achieve.

Don’t get me wrong, the government has a massive role to play too, we can’t do this entirely on our own. Until they prioritise it and address the scary statistics by implementing a prevention strategy (teach emotional intelligence in schools for example) and providing the relevant services – we are still going to needlessly lose people through suicide. But by coming together as one voice, they won’t be able to ignore it for long.

 

What do you think about bloggers/influencers coming out publicly on their platforms to speak about their own mental health issues?

I think this is amazing – these bloggers should be proud of themselves. Sharing your story isn’t easy – and it’s especially not easy to do over social media.

Having the courage to talk is a massive step in the right direction and by sharing your story, you have no idea who it might help and that’s the whole aim of MiMind. There will always be someone out there who will connect with your story and your story might be the reason they decide to share theirs – and that may be the first step in their recovery.

eannah

Opening Up: Eanna Walsh will be speaking at the event

Social media is incredibly powerful, let’s use it to address this epidemic. Join the conversation on the night by following and using the hashtag #MiMind2016.

Snapchat – MiMind_Irl

Instagram – MiMind_Irl

Facebook – MiMind Ireland

Twitter – MiMind_Irl

Goss.ie are proud supporters of #MiMind2016.

Follow us on any of the above for all the live updates on the night through our Snapchat (goss.ie) as well as all of our social media channels.