In support of Zizzi’s long-standing partner, the Mental Health Foundation and the charity’s campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week – the restaurant chain invited good friends, Queen and runner up of the I’m A Celebrity Jungle, Jill Scott, and Owen Warner to sit down over a delicious three course meal to have an open, honest and frank discussion about their personal mental health journey.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (15th May – 21st May) and this year there is a focus on anxiety and the impact it has on our mental wellbeing. MBE Lioness Jill Scott and Hollyoaks Actor want to initiate an important conversation about how everyone has experienced anxiety at some point in their lives and the many ways they can be supported.

The Google Trends data on anxiety as a search term is staggering. Searches for anxiety are consistently higher in frequency than searches for depression, bullying, suicide and stress, and have steadily increased since 2004. Data from the counselling directory from July 2022 shows that anxiety is the most common problem that the general population are seeking counselling for – with anxiety at 42,409 compared to depression at 26,437. One in four people who suffer with anxiety stops them from doing things in their day-to-day life.**

The insightful conversation was had over a delicious three-course meal at Zizzi where Jill and Owen talked honestly and openly about their own experiences from their time in the jungle, to Jill’s career in football, and the impact of social media. Owen talks about how he meditates to help him day to day and Jill talks about having a strict routine and writing everything down helps her cope. Jill talks about her academy and coaching the next generation of footballers and what they do on and off the pitch to help support them on their journey. Owen opens up about his big acting role in Hollyoaks at the age of 18 and how he almost stopped due to a lack confidence and what helped him gain the confidence and continue developing in his career. They both agreed that taking time out to be with friends, putting down their phones, and talking helps them focus and sets them up for the week. 

In the content Jill Scott said: “With anxiety everything can feel overwhelming, you always think you are the only one feeling like that. I reckon if you speak to 99% of people, they’ve all experienced anxiety in one way or another. It was only when I stopped playing football was when I realized how anxious I was and the pressure I put on myself to perform. There were 11 million people watching me and when I played, I wish I would have spoken about it a little more. However, learning to win and lose on a pitch really helps equip you in life when things get tough. If I focused on doing what I was good at, the situation felt less overwhelming.”

Owen Warner said: “I think social media can affect mental health so much, I sometimes lie in bed thinking about that one negative post on social media. To help, I’ve stopped posting posed pictures of myself and want to show the reality of life – showing imperfections is so much better for the younger generation to see.”

The Zizzi series “In conversations with,” includes three episodes and will be housed on both Zizzi’s and the Mental Health Foundation’s websites and social media channels. 

Harry Heeley, Managing Director at Zizzi Restaurants said: “At Zizzi we believe getting round a table with friends lifts us up, puts a smile on our faces, and generally makes us feel a bit more ready to take on whatever life throws our way. We are proud to be supporting our partner The Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week campaign this year focusing on Anxiety, through #ToHelpMyAnxiety and the work we do throughout the year to support the charity.”

Fiona Halton, Head of High Value Relationships at Mental Health Foundation said: “We are so grateful to our long-standing partner Zizzi for this insightful series, their ongoing support and particularly driving awareness of  anxiety  during Mental Health Awareness Week. Sharing our experiences sends a powerful message to others that we’ve been there too. Anxiety is a universal feeling so this Mental Health Awareness Week we’re creating a universal call to action – to give our campaign the momentum it needs and our community the support it deserves. Through our #ToHelpMyAnxiety we are encouraging people to share ways in which help them and driving people to tips and advice on our website.”

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