All the feels

Feels FM, the world’s first emoji-powered jukebox, launched in 2018 aspart of a YoYP project run by See Me, the national programme to end mental health discrimination.The jukebox is designed to help young people talk more about their feelings.

Feels FM is an year-long online platform made with young people that helps them express their feelings; use music as a positive coping strategy; and share their views on how young people in Scotland can help to help end mental health stigma and discrimination.

The project was launched after new research revealed that only a quarter of young people would tell someone if they were struggling to cope.

Alongside the platform, young people can apply for up to £1000 to run their own Feels FM activity, helping to bring conversations on mental health to life in schools, youth and community groups.

Shah Gill, 21 years old from Paisley, struggled with his mental health when he was growing up, but didn’t find it easy to talk to people.

“When I was in school, I was bullied. Often, I would struggle with eating habits. I had a lot of insecurities and self-doubt. It wasn’t acknowledged by teachers.

“It took me a long time to figure out that I had an eating disorder. It’s hard to explain to others what you’re going through when you don’t understand yourself. I think people saw I was struggling but didn’t know how to handle it.

“I struggled to explain to one teacher what I was going through. When I did eventually tell her, she was very dismissive and said I needed to focus on my education. But it is much harder to focus when you are struggling mentally and not getting help.”

Shah eventually found he could speak to his mum, and got help with both his eating, and his mental health, from a dietician. He also used music as a coping mechanism when he was feeling down.

“Listening to music that relates to how you’re feeling is really therapeutic and can help you to understand things on a different level. Songs can reduce you to tears, which can sound upsetting, but it’s a good way of coping.”