Jayne Hardy, Blurt’s Founder and Chief Executive, lost most of her twenties to depression. At the height of her illness she was unable to work, leave the house or even undertake the most basic acts of self-care – she lost a tooth because she didn’t feel worthy enough to clean them.
During this dark time, one of the things Jayne struggled with most was the feeling of isolation. She had cut herself off socially for fear of being a burden, and found it extremely difficult to talk to loved ones about her depression because of the great deal of shame she felt. With long waiting lists for counselling, and face-to-face support groups too daunting to attend, Jayne was left to cope with her condition alone.
When Jayne founded Blurt in 2011, her chief goal was to prevent others from feeling such isolation. Having experienced first-hand the powerful connections that could be fostered via social media, Jayne deliberately focused Blurt’s activities online – providing interim support for those struggling with depression and challenging the stigma around mental health.
Jayne’s innovative use of the Internet to bring about positive social change was recognised from the off. She won the TalkTalk Digital Hero Award in 2011, and last year was included in Marketing Magazine’s list of Top 10 Digital Mavericks. A proud mum to two-year old Peggy, Jayne was also shortlisted as Most Inspiring Business Parent in the mumandworking 2015 Awards. Jayne has been mentioned as one of 19 inspirational women leading the way in mental health by Rethink as part of their International Women’s Day celebrations. Most recently, Blurt has been shortlisted in the O2 Next Gen Awards for their #WhatYouDontSee Social Media Campaign which went viral in April 2016, and Jayne was a speaker at TEDxBrum 2016.