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Your mental health does not define you as a person and you shouldn’t let it

Life is not always as perfect as it seems on Instagram. For some it’s a real challenge, especially where mental health is concerned.

There’s still so much stigma surrounding mental health and at District23 we want to change that.

We know we can’t change that stigmatism but we can influence it. We can alter someone’s perception of mental health, we can change their attitude towards it and we can show that mental health is every bit as normal as breathing.

Mental health in numbers


million people suffer from anxiety or depression
of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14
of people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year
increase in self harm rates in the last 14 years

It took burnout 
for District23
 to find its home

In November 2013, Caitlin McEvoy set up District23 as a playground to experiment with t-shirt designs and screen-printing. District23 was featured in the now defunct FHM magazine on several occasions and given the title of t-shirt of the day and t-shirt of the month on European blogging platforms.

In November 2015, Caitlin and District23 were named one of the top 15 freelancers in the country at the IPSE Freelancer Awards.

After embarking on a master’s degree while working full-time in a six-day-a-week publishing job and juggling freelance design work, Caitlin hit burnout towards the end of 2015. District23 came to a halt as did the passion and enthusiasm for design and life in general.

As a result, what transpired was a rebirth of District23 – turning it into the mental health and wellbeing brand you know today.

District23 founder Caitlin McEvoy shares her story

I went undiagnosed with depression and anxiety for five years. Growing up in the UK doctors are reluctant to give out medication without real cause. I was told everything I was feeling was hormonal – because I was a teenage girl.

When I was given the diagnosis of depression everything made sense. The unexplainable feelings, the uncontrollable mood swings and uncharacteristic exhaustion was something that could now be managed and controlled.

Life is a lot easier now. There are still days where my motivation isn’t there, and I don’t enjoy things the way I usually would – but my good days now far outweigh my bad.

My perception of life has changed. I know that I haven’t been given anything I can’t handle. I’ve been through some rough times and taken the people I love through the journey with me. Coming out the other side a stronger and better person has made me realise the importance of self-care and self-love.

Depression and anxiety does not define me. I’ve let it control my life for so long. As soon as I knew what worked for me, I was able to take the control back.

Whether you’re struggling with a mental health condition or know someone who is, there is always a reason to keep fighting. Don’t give up. It is a process, but things can and will get better.