Bryony Gordon

Founder

Her name is Bryony and she is mental. A fruit-loop. Whatever else you want to throw at her – she doesn’t care, because her head has thrown her much worse. Bryony has OCD and over the years has also suffered from depression, bulimia and drug dependency. Most of this she did completely alone, just like everyone else who suffers from mental illness. Back in January 2016, Bryony was in a terrible funk because she had just spent several months writing a memoir of her mental health, and who knew that writing about mental illness might make you… well, mentally ill? So there she was, out in the park trying to run away her OCD, listening to a Jarvis Cocker documentary about the author Carson McCullers, whose relatively short life was dogged by depression and alcoholism. There was some archive audio of her saying: ‘everyone is part of a We except me’. Her words stopped Bryony in her tracks. “No!” I thought. “No, you were wrong! You belonged to a ‘We’, but you just didn’t know it!” So she went home and decided to find that ‘We’. Bryony posted on Twitter, suggesting a regular meet-up for people with mental health issues, where they could walk and talk without fear of judgement. She suggested a date and a place: Valentine’s Day, at the Lido Café in Hyde Park. She wondered if she gone properly mad as she left home that cold, wet Sunday morning. But then 20 people turned up, and Mental Health Mates has continued to grow ever since.