First of all, a disclaimer. Don't at all intend this thread to be a downer. Secondly, an apology if something else like this already exists here - but i've not seen anything.
So, as Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close, it got me thinking that in a pop-up city of 200,000 people there's likely a sizeable chunk who are currently - or have in the past - suffered from various mental health issues - either diagnosed or otherwise. I'm sure many of those planning to attend Glastonbury have the support of their friends but I imagine a fair few don't and maybe suffer in silence, their festival punctuated at times by these things rearing their ugly heads. Glastonbury is an assault on the senses and can be hugely overwhelming, especially to first-timers not knowing what to expect and not having the encyclopedic knowledge of the site many of us have that help to comfortably navigate, get around safely and find quieter spots when we need a breather. You add issues of anxiety into the mix and it can be a really tough few days.
I have crippling anxiety and a history of recurring depression, one that I always assumed precluded me from something like Glastonbury, that I should just stay away through fear of panicking or ruining it for my friends. But I was fed up of missing out. When I was first persuaded to go in 2008, I didn't have the best start to the festival in the group I was in - who weren't particularly supportive - and I ended up spending the rest of it alone. Though I struggled on occasions during that weekend, I still had the best time. Despite crowds, noise, the unknown quantity that is an event the size of Glastonbury, I was helped along by a number of strangers who seemed to be able to recognise when I wasn't doing so well. Glastonbury can be incredibly cathartic and remains a place I always feel really safe in despite the size. A busy tram on a weekday in Manchester is enough to make me break out in sweats and have to focus on my breathing. An 80,000 strong crowd in front of the Pyramid doesn't faze me at all. Why is that?
I think it would be nice to have a place on this incredible forum and its brilliant community of efesters to chat about these kinds of things. For first timers, whether they identify as suffering from mental issues or not, to air their concerns and ask questions. For solo travellers, to reassure themselves that there is support should they need it and point them towards it. Somewhere for regulars to discuss how they manage their anxiety/depression at the festival, the best places to take a break, spots it might be better to avoid at certain times, the issues surrounding use of drugs to alleviate anxiety, where to camp. Basically, all the things we talk about anyway but from an angle of managing anxiety/depression and absolutely maxing out the potential for your Glastonbury to be the best one ever!