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Scarlett Curtis opens up about being “totally isolated” after struggling with her mental health

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Megan Murray
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Author and journalist Scarlett Curtis’ new book unpicks the shame around mental health.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) was the book to have on your bookshelf when it was released by Scarlett Curtis last year.

Now, the author, journalist and daughter of everyone’s favourite rom-com creators, Emma Freud and Richard Curtis, is back with a new collection of essays and poems, this time looking at mental health.

It’s Not OK To Feel Blue (And Other Lies) was published yesterday (3 October) and features contributions from celebrities such as Emma Thompson, Lena Dunham and Naomi Campbell, looking at the way we talk about mental health and breaking down the taboo that still stifles this subject from being discussed openly. 

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Curating this book has been a deeply personal experience for Curtis who has struggled with her mental health since being a teenager.

Speaking to BBC News in the wake of her new book launch, she explained how at the age of 19 she became isolated from her friends and family.

“By the time I was 19 I’d shut myself off from everyone in my life. I felt so ashamed of what I was going through,” Curtis, who is now 23 years old, remembers.

Curtis continues to stress that the shame surrounding mental health is a huge contributing factor to those dealing with issues not getting the help that they need.

She says: “I’d barely talked to my family about it, I had no friends, I was out of school, I was completely socially isolated. And while a lot of that was the mental illness itself, most of that was the shame.

“I felt like the only depictions I’d seen of mental illness before were people who’d had it define their lives, and that was who they were and they were in hospital forever and could never work, so I felt like that was me immediately.”

It’s this fear and the feelings of embarrassment, shame and the need to conceal mental health issues that Curtis is determined to break down with her new title.

In fact, since writing more about her experiences on this subject, Curtis has said that she’s received lots of messages from those going through the same thing, showing how needed these discussions are. 

As well as sharing their own experiences and thoughts on the subject, the famous faces Curtis has got on board also give practical advice on how they pick themselves up mentally. 

It’s Not OK To Feel Blue (And Other Lies) is available now.

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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