PUBLISHED: 10:17 15 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:17 15 October 2020
Following World Mental Health Day on Saturday, a social media star catapulted into the limelight when his comical YouTube videos led to millions of followers has spoken of severe anxiety battles as his mum fought breast cancer and he struggled with the pressure of being in the public eye.
Oli White, from Hitchin, inset, has his own YouTube channel which currently has 2.74m subscribers, with videos posted online often featuring food challenges, science experiments and innovative gadgets.
But while Oli is all smiles on camera, his personal life has been an uphill struggle.
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As it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Oli has decided to speak out about his mum Sally’s battle with breast cancer – a gruelling experience of operations and medications which understandably took its toll.
Oli explained: “Battling breast cancer left my mum suffering from anxiety, a lack of sleep and low – if any – self-confidence. It was horrible to see from such a wonderful and inspirational woman.” Sally is now in remission, but the mental trauma that comes from fighting for your life can be long-lasting. “Thankfully she was introduced to CBD to help with the knock-on effects of her battle,” Oli said. CBD – cannabidiol – is medical cannabis that can be used to treat anxiety, insomnia and long-term pain, among other things. Oli said: “We all noticed the difference, none more so than she did. She really believes it helped her with the mental side of her recovery.”
Oli says he has also suffered a mental health battle himself. “After years of sustaining an active presence online, I experienced my own personal struggles too with anxiety, stress and sleep,” he explained.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people who have reported high levels of anxiety has more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to pre-pandemic.
Encouraging people who are struggling with their mental health not to bottle things up and keep their problems to themselves, Oli said: “Remember, we all need help from time to time, there is nothing wrong with it. This year has been a weird one and hard for so many people. It’s okay to talk about how you are feeling.”
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