British vlogger Zoe Sugg (who you may know online as Zoella) has a new focus beyond her upcoming book. The YouTube star in possession of more than 8.4 million subscribers across her two YouTube channels is partnering with the mental health charity Mind and working with the organization to raise awareness of anxiety and panic attacks by way of the #DontPanicButton campaign.
Sugg’s initiative asks participants to include the hashtag with any photos they upload to social media to show their support for the cause. Additionally, individuals in favor of the cause can choose to wear a red button of any sort on their person. In her vlog from October 9, 2014, Sugg explains (starting at 1:52) how this symbol is normally associated with panic, but she wants to repurpose it and use it as a connecting point between people who suffer from panic and anxiety.
These mental health topics aren’t new to the vlogger. Sugg suffers from both herself, and has been very open in talking to her YouTube audience about it in the past, once in a 2012 video and again just recently in a June 2014 video (both of which have more than two million views).
“I know just how isolating it can feel to experience severe anxiety. However, the overwhelming response I’ve received every time I’ve spoken out online, shows just how many young people confront it every day,” Sugg told The Guardian. “I am passionate about the need for everyone to feel ok to speak out, to talk to friends and family about what they’re going through, to ask for help. That’s why I’m thrilled to be taking on my new role as Digital Ambassador at Mind.”
Mind’s chief executive Paul Farmer lauded Sugg for her openness about her struggles with panic attacks and anxiety on her online platforms. “For many, the internet and social media can be a lifeline,” he said to The Guardian. “By connecting people with similar experiences and providing access to information and support, the online world has a significant role to play increasing awareness about mental health problems.”
Even though YouTube wants to make Sugg a UK household name with a set of soon-to-be-released ads promoting her work, her online reach is already massive. With those millions of subscribers mentioned abouve, there’s no doubt her work with Mind will make a large impact.