Joey Kidney, A Social Influencer Starting A Conversation About Mental Health

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Joey Kidney, A Social Influencer Starting A Conversation About Mental Health

Sometimes it can be hard to start a conversation about mental health. For Joey Kidney, a 22 year-old social influencer based out of Canada, he knows how important it is and how certain things should be talked about.

As a mental health advocate, he’s creating a platform to talk about things related to anxiety, depression, insecurities, love, lust, and more. Through YouTube – with videos where he films his anxiety attacks or answers uncomfortable questions -, with social media (Instagram and Twitter), his podcast, The Happy Times,  and his first bookWhat’s The Rush?“, he’s starting a conversation and inviting others to join in.

How and when did you get started on YouTube? Tell me about that journey a little bit. I started when I was 16. But I really started when I was 18. My first ever video was purely mental health-based.

I was a bad kid because I had ADHD. I would get up in class and do all this crap, so I was always in the principal’s office. I was really trying not to be a bad kid, but there was one day when I got called down to the principal’s office and I was like, “oh my god, what am I doing wrong?” and they were like, “what are you doing?” and I said, “I don’t know why I’m in here,” and they were like “We’ve had so many people come in and say your name and mention that you’re helping them. So whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” Apparently, it was my videos. 

You’re very open about mental health and the uncomfortable questions that come with love and relationships. How do people react to that vulnerability? They think I’m crazy. We’re all thinking about it, but I’m just saying it. I’m reading texts from friends and emails from people and we’re all complaining about the same issues. But what if these issues were vocalized? Think about how many people that could help. So that’s what I do. I vocalize these problems.

We’re not alone and it’s a lot easier than we make it out to be. The vulnerability is something that is comfortable for them, but also shocking. It’s shocking because someone is stating their issues, but it’s comfortable because they’re going through it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about what I’m talking about. It’s a never-ending conversation.

People might expect you to be open about everything. What about your own personal relationships and sharing who you’re dating? No, I won’t share that online. My ex – that was a great relationship, and there were no negatives to it, except that it was online. I’ve seen people, in between then and now, and I had a really hard time with someone once. They would get jealous when they’d see my Instagram comments or watch my videos about dating or being single. And I would tell them, in the nicest way possible, “online…you don’t exist.” I’m not gonna disclose my single life or my relationships online. I’ll be neutral about it. But it won’t be like, “Joey’s got a girlfriend, check that out!” I’ve been there and I’ve done that and it was horrible. The worst comment was “I wish I could find love like this.” Or “I wish I could be like you guys.” I don’t need that confirmation from other people. I want the hardships. I don’t want the cookie-cutter-it’s-so-great-all-the-time. 

You’ve recently published a book. What is it about? What do you hope people get out of it? It’s a hard book to describe, so let me just read the introduction: “Step into the world of pain, happiness, and the unknown. A walk in the shoes of sorrow, uncertainty, and death. A look through the eyes of lust, new beginnings, and tears. A beat in the heart of love, heartbreak, and goodbye. 

Every experience, every heartbreak, every love, every death, every loss, every hardship, and every happy time is noted down. I’ve come to the realization that we are a lot more similar than we care to believe. I hope you can find comfort in my ongoing story and make it your own.”

Everything that happened to me, is here. 

What is “The Happy Times”? What kind of things do you talk about? I’ve found a trend that people really like: being told to listen to something. A lot of people come to my podcasts feeling lost. And when you’re lost, you don’t want to have to search for the right answer. So my podcasts are like, “listen to this when you don’t know your life purpose,” or “listen to this when you feel like everything is too much,” or “listen to this when you feel left out” – stuff like that.

I sit there and talk to myself for about 20 minutes. It’s easy. If people come to me with problems, you’ve already given the solution. Blow it up and take it piece by piece. I help people realize that they already know their answer. It’s already there. I want people to know the answers, so just open up the conversation. 

Can you give some love or life advice to anyone who might be reading? A lot of people, right now especially, feel like we need to be the smartest person. Or we’re seeing these YouTubers as millionaires and we feel like we’re failures. We feel like we have to get to a spot so quickly in life that we need to kill ourselves to do so. We’re stressed out and feel like we’re not in the right place. But the truth is, there is no rush. Just take your time. Think about it – when you were learning how to walk as a baby, you didn’t get up and run, you crawled and you fell down and you held on to the wall to keep moving. We can’t jump into things and get successful. We need to fall. We need people to help us. There’s no rush in life. You’ll get there. [cw-mark]

Listen to this interview on his podcast, The Happy Times.