A young Aberdeen fashion designer has created a range of t-shirts in a bid to raise funds for a mental health charity.
Ryan Douglas, from Bucksburn, founded streetwear brand Questions Clothing when he was just 19.
Now 21, he has decided to use the venture – which has been featured by major retailer ASOS – to raise money for charity.
He opted to produce a line of t-shirts, featuring the words “I’m not okay”, which will be sold in aid of the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), inspired by his own experiences.
Ryan said: “My inspiration to start fundraising for SAMH begun when I noticed my own mental state had been deteriorating due to the constant shifts with lockdown rules and ongoing loneliness I have suffered from these past months.
“I began to notice I was telling everyone ‘I’m okay’ when really I was in a very dark state of mind, that was when the inspiration for the shirt struck.
“I felt that portraying it in the way I have speaks a lot of truth for many of us, harbouring the truth of how we feel to avoid conversation around our issues.
“Also, I feel that sometimes speaking with family or friends isn’t always the best option for some people as sometimes people just won’t understand what you’re feeling or why.
“I feel it’s important to have things like the SAMH in place so that if you feel more comfortable letting it out to a professional you can do so without leaving the house.”
Ryan is aiming to raise hundreds for the charity through his brand, in the hope it will help others who are struggling.
He said: “It’s hard to put an exact number on it as my business is still small and growing but I would be thrilled if Questions was able to generate anywhere around £500 to £1,000 from this project.
“In terms of impact I just want everyone to know that although you feel alone now things will change.
“You can find your people who get who you are and they’re there for you, those who inspire and motivate you to chase your goals and happiness.
“But most importantly I want people to understand that mental health is a complex, complex thing.
“There is no set in stone way that helps everyone, it’s different for us all and we need to acknowledge this and have a better conversation about taking the time to understand people’s emotions.
“I myself have been referred to therapy, counselling and anti-depressants and none of which have had any beneficial impact for me. Sometimes all we need is someone we relate to that is just there to listen.
“I hope the fundraising is used to broadcast a message similar to this and more people are made aware of the great work the SAMH are doing and it’s not just a line where you are placed on hold and told the same thing by each person. It’s genuine, authentic people who will give you a proper heart to heart.”
Ryan, who also works as an apprentice joiner when he is not running Questions, wants everyone to look out for signs their friends and family are struggling.
He said: “It’s important that we support organisations like SAMH so that more struggling individuals are made aware of places like this and know that the help is out there. Nowadays, it is so saddening to see early teens falling into depression and anxiety so often. We need to do more, all of us.
“I hope this project inspires others reading this to check up on your friends, even the strong ones, the funny ones and the quiet ones.
“Don’t be the person who ignores signs and regrets it later. It takes 10 seconds to reach out to someone in today’s world.
“Let’s all do better and support one another. Don’t allow loneliness, depression, anxiety or whatever you are battling inside to consume you.”
The t-shirts go on sale today and 100% of the profits will be donated to SAMH.
To order, visit marketplace.asos.com/boutique/questions-clothing or questions-clothing.com