Behind the scenes from Russell Brand’s day at The Mix

In one of the most unprecedented plot twists of 2017, Russell Brand has become the manager of everyone at The Mix for one week and one week only. He sat on a panel with some of our brave and wonderful young people here in our office to talk all things mental health, but there was only one question on our minds... do you reckon he'll give us all decent LinkedIn recommendations?

Louise Jones
Content Officer
russell brand sits with young people on a panel

Russell Brand, Subira, Raveena, Emily Rose, and Jack.

“There are going to be some changes around here,” Russell says with a sly smile after spending the afternoon in The Mix’s office learning all about the brilliant and integral work we do here. He’s accepted the job offer of Guest Editor of The Mix for this week after writing his new book Recovery, out this Thursday 21st September.  

On Tuesday, part of his responsibility as Guest Editor involved speaking with some of our young people to discuss mental health and the idea of recovery. Russell is no stranger to mental health struggles, and it was empowering to hear him talk so bravely and candidly. But does he remember how he coped with his struggles when HE was under 25? That was one of the first questions we asked. 

“I do through the gift of memory recall that between 16 and 25 I was coping initially through eating, then drugs, then drinking, then porn, then self-harm,” Russell says, and admits that he’d never go back to his adolescence. He adds: “Now I’m a bit older, I know that no one knows what they’re doing,” which causes a lot of murmured agreement and relieved looks from those younger in the room. We’re not meant to know everything! We’re always going to be learning and growing! Phew.  

So, if he got his hands on a time machine, what would Russell say to his younger, troubled, more naïve self? “‘Russell, go and talk to some other people, protect yourself a little bit, calm down, and I don’t think heroin‘s gonna work.’”  

Simple and to the point. But is it that simple? Conversation soon turned to HOW you can protect yourself, be more resilient, and begin to recover. It’s not that easy! 

“You need a change of perspective and then support to maintain that perspective,” Russell says. “Shame and guilt often perpetuate [destructive and unhealthy] behaviours. You must be forgiving to yourself and love yourself.” We’re all about that self-care life, so amen to that.  

About this support, then. It can be so tough to support a friend or loved one through hard times, so what should you say? What should you do? What CAN you do? Russell suggests saying: “If you want help, I’m willing to help you or I’m willing to direct you towards help. But in a sense we have to protect ourselves. Without some kind of engagement [from the person struggling] if can be quite difficult to make a difference.” 

Russell is so on point here. You can’t force someone to seek help, and you certainly can’t fix them yourself, even if you so desperately want to. 

The panel was full of honest and supportive wit and wisdom, and one of the most striking comments came from Emily-Rose, 22, a community member at The Mix, when talking about relapse. 

“[Relapse] isn’t a step back. It’s just a stop. You never go backwards, you just stop for a second.” 

We love that. Relapse is common in recovery, and most definitely isn’t synonymous with failure. Recovery is continuous and a learning process, and we’re so proud to have voices like Emily Rose’s promoting that attitude for The Mix. 

Now, you must excuse us. We have to prepare for our one-to-one meetings with our new manager. Maybe he’ll grant our desperate want for an office puppy…

Russell Brand is Guest Editor at The Mix from 18th – 22nd September. You can follow his antics using #RussellsRemix and by signing up to our newsletter.

Fancy winning a copy Russell’s new book, Recovery? Get involved with our #RecoverMe campaign. 

Watch the recorded live stream panel on our Facebook page, and pre-order his book Recovery now.


Published on 20-Sep-2017