Published on 22.02.22
Here on the blog we’ve been introducing you to the Tiny Changes team. Last time you met Filo, now meet Tomiwa, our fantastic Tiny Changes Digital Consultant. She’s the person behind our website, mailings and social media. Tomiwa has been working with us since Spring 2021 and she manages all the content you see online and the replies when you DM us!
“It’s so encouraging to know that they have the knowledge and the space to talk about the intersections of race and mental health – I didn’t have that. So, for me to be able to share that through Tiny Changes is a real privilege.”
Hi Tomiwa! If you could change one thing about social media content around mental health, what would it be?
I really admire the bravery and honesty of anybody who produces social media content around their own mental health. What I would change isn’t just about social media but about mental health at large. So often it is considered and discussed as a lone issue in modern society. When we talk about mental health we must talk about race, gender, sexuality, nationality, people with disabilities, those who are care givers, violations of human rights, the list goes on. That’s what I would like to see more of; a community based, holistic, care-giving approach to mental health. A lot of marginalised communities and activists already exist in this way, and we can really learn a lot from them.
You’re working on some new collaborative products for our Tiny Changes Shop, can you tell us more?
I don’t want to give too much away but I’ll give you a little bit! The restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic meant it was difficult to work with children and young people in ways we would have liked or imagined. So, to now be able to be in a room together, creating products where the proceeds will go directly to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of themselves and their peers is exciting, it’s fun and it’s something I know we will continue to do more of.
We know it can be tough working from home some days, what’s on your playlist that always makes you smile when you’re being a comms queen?
I usually start my day with an Afrobeats playlist, I don’t believe you can’t listen to Afrobeats and not smile! I also love Jacob Banks, Ray BLK, Tems, Jazmine Sullivan, Aiittee, Masego, and STACE. The list goes on, and on, and on.
What’s your favourite Tiny Changes’ content you’ve worked on so far?
You can’t ask me that! I really love our content that shares the stories of our funded charities, groups, or individuals. It’s how the many incredible fundraisers and donors can see how their tiny change has helped young minds feel better. On a personal note, it provides perspective.
Recently, I read the Intercultural Youth Report, ‘Speaking Our Mind’ to produce our day-to-day content. I left school almost 10 years ago and reading experiences of young people that were near identical to my own was very upsetting. At the same time, it’s so encouraging to know that they have the knowledge and the space to talk about the intersections of race and mental health – I didn’t have that. So, for me to be able to share that through Tiny Changes is a real privilege.
Last year you led a special project at the new Strathclyde Union for Tiny Changes, where there’s now a mural that reads “HOPE.” What does hope mean to you?
We were working against quite a tight deadline to have the mural finished by freshers week, and so we didn’t have much time to reflect on the process as it was happening. My mental health deteriorated when I was at university, and I know there’s many people who’ll share a similar experience. There were many days when hope was an impossible and unimaginable feeling and there were days where hope was all I could grasp onto. Now, hope is a reminder of how far I have come. I don’t know if that answered your question…
As a social media expert, what advice do you have on keeping healthy boundaries with our phones to help our minds feel better?
PUT IT DOWN. Put the phone down. Download your music or podcasts, switch notifications off, you can even put your phone on aeroplane mode or turn your data off. Do it for a day, do it for an hour, do it for 20 minutes – whatever works for you. I love the idea digital detox, but I know first-hand that for a lot of us – it’s not feasible, so try out what works for you and your lifestyle. You rarely regret time spent offline or not on your phone, but you may regret time spent mindlessly scrolling…
We know you love to write and you’re very good at it. Which writers have influenced you and what should we go read by them?
Oh what a question, ‘Ghana Must Go’ by Taiye Selasi is beautifully written, beautifully written, that’s all I can say. ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi is the book that made me fall in love with reading again and reminded me of the power of stories and the importance of who tells stories. ‘Love in Colour’ by Bolu Babalola is a collection of short stories about love, Bolu’s writing is so rich and vibrant, it’s so joyful, it’s so loving!
We’ve delivered some very exciting projects and events together, and we also had to change direction with some plans in 2021. What have you learned?
We did, and I don’t want to speak too soon, but I will…2022 is going to be even more exciting for Tiny Changes! I’ve learnt that it’s always okay in the end. I do think when you have the mental space to think positively and optimistically – something that’s not always possible when you’re unwell – there are no dead ends, just a re-routing. There will be mistakes, we’re human, but you learn quickly, and you keep it moving even faster. So, reflect on the past but keep going forwards, that’s what I’ve learnt. Oh, and ask for help, no question is stupid no problem is too small or too big, we’re all in this together.