"Lets try to just make a conscious effort, to show we have a heart, and consciously be kinder to each other. The yellow hearts are simply symbols of this."
As the summer holidays draw to an end and parents are preparing to get back to doing the school run, a mum of 2 from a village in Yorkshire is spearheading a national campaign and fundraising for MIND, with a mission of pushing the power of kindness.
Lyndsey Thomas, 39, is a tourism marketing expert who’s launched campaigns for New York and Canada, she is also the founder of ‘Girl About’ - a platform dedicated to lifting women up, supporting and celebrating them and encouraging them to connect with their communities around them. Lyndsey’s depression has at times seen her lose days in bed, scared to face people and too anxious to leave the house and as a result she has created the ‘Have a Heart’ campaign calling for women from across the UK to consciously to be more open with their emotions and commit to being kinder to each other, having reflected on the impact others have on her own wellbeing.
This campaign is being backed and supported by actress, singer and model Natalie Jane Anderson who is best known for her roles as Alicia Metcalfe in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale. Lyndsey has been invited to be on the expert panel alongside Atomic Kitten turned Skin Specialist, Natasha Hamilton at The Capsule event in September organised and hosted by Natalie to talk about her story and the ‘Have a Heart’ campaign.
Lyndsey has already seen celebrities and mum bloggers across the country join in her campaign and as mum's across the UK return back to the school gates, she is hoping to impact a wave of empathy amongst women towards other women, nationwide.
A victim herself of trolling after her birth story hit the national newspapers 5 years ago, Lyndsey has reached devastating lows due to high profile public criticism, and online bullying contributed to her ongoing mental health struggles and anxiety that sees her regularly hit self-destruct. However, reading Lyndsey’s latest blog post ‘All it takes is a smile’ we learn that much of her day-to-day anxiety comes from the everyday interactions and that in fact the blank stare or dismissive glance at the school gates is the cut that goes the deepest.
Lyndsey is a champion of discussions around mental health, having been a media spokesperson on the subject many times and her blog, which has over 20,000 followers, shares real life stories of women who are struggling to be kind to themselves, set amongst articles which celebrate awesomeness and review experiences that uplift and energise us. She said: “I launched ‘Have a Heart’ for a few reasons. One was inexplicably personal having revisited my trolling story recently for Maternal Mental Health Week and it bringing it all back just how hurtful people can be, then me realising the power of kindness and a friendly smile and how my anxiety was either fuelled or fixed by the actions of others. I wanted to do something, to celebrate the launch of my new Girl About platform, that brings women together, with something that makes an impact in the real world, as face to face interactions will always be stronger than anything generated online.
“I wanted us to all think about how we treat each other. Whether we stop and consider how others are feeling, or if we are just stuck in our own bubble most of the time? Do we realise that in not returning a smile at the school gates we are causing someone huge anxiety, or that in not saying ‘Hi’ we could seriously sabotage someone’s self-worth. These are little things that we are all guilty of when rushing around in our lives, but let’s try to just make a conscious effort, to show we have a heart, and consciously be kinder to each other. The yellow hearts are simply symbols of this.”
The campaign is looking to raise much needed funds for MIND and the yellow heart pins, which come in pairs, so you can also gift one to a friend, are available at www.girlabout.co.uk. Lyndsey invites us to wear our yellow heart on our sleeves, to show we’re not ashamed of showing our emotions and that we’re all in it together. She is encouraging women across the UK to embrace this campaign, and asks that if we see a woman with a yellow heart on her sleeve we make a conscious effort to interact with her in a positive way.
There is also a social media element to it for those who can support it there, sharing a status of yellow heart emojis with #haveaheart tagging @girlaboutblogsquad and Lyndsey hopes to drum up discussions and support amongst women online too. She added: “With this campaign I am not just working for those who recognise they have challenges with mental health, but the everyday woman who just has those bad days and would really benefit from a friendly smile or quick chat at the school gates”.
She said: “In wearing a yellow heart on your sleeve you’re showing that you’re open with your emotions and also that you are happy to support others too. I hope it will lift people, I hope it will unite people and I hope it will get women thinking about how much their actions can impact others. I also hope it will evolve the amount of ‘hi, how are you?” “I’m fine thanks” conversations to a different level of genuinely showing more interest in those around us.”
Lyndsey added: “Women can be the most supportive friends ever - super loyal and there to build us up - but women can also be the cause of much heartache and this is what I’m trying to address in my own way. I feel often it happens unintentionally, without real malice -but flippant actions can hurt so let’s all just be a little more aware of each other’s feelings this week, and then we can hopefully move on from there”.