UK creator Mesha Moinirad on World IBD Day and combating stigma
Why are awareness days like World Irritable Bowel Diseases Day important?
So many people suffer with the symptoms of Crohn’s and Colitis and may not be aware of what they are experiencing. It’s so important for people to get their symptoms checked, and for people to understand the constraints those with these conditions live with every day. People understanding how these conditions affect people helps in creating a more accepting society, and in turn makes their individual lives easier; whether that’s at work, at home, or in a social setting.
How has YouTube helped you tell your story and build your community?
YouTube is the best tool to communicate with a wide audience. Short form videos enable me to communicate my message in bite size pieces, with long form videos allowing for more exploration. This variation in information sharing and the fact that it’s a worldwide platform has allowed me to connect with people across the globe.
Having someone to talk to who has lived experience in your condition is such a powerful tool.”
How has it allowed you to tell your story in a way you haven’t been able to before?
Longform videos have allowed me to explore the intricacies of my condition in more detail and in more thoughtful ways. YouTube also has a different demographic than some of the newer platforms, and so I know sharing my videos have helped inform medical professionals like stoma nurses, for example. Reaching people of all ages and backgrounds is integral for awareness of Crohn’s, Colitis, and other bowel related conditions.
What is the most impactful thing you’ve experienced/done while being on YouTube?
I’m so grateful to get messages every day from people who have been positively affected by my videos. I have helped people come to terms with their condition by showing them they can lead normal, fulfilling lives with a bag. I feel proud to spread the message that having any of these conditions is entirely normal; so many people are going through the same thing and it is never anything to be ashamed of. My community covers a wide umbrella of people: those with Crohn’s, Colitis, stoma bags and other invisible health conditions, though is unlimited in that it also aids others; the family and friends of those who are looking for education and ways to help and understand, as well as medical professionals looking for a patient perspective to inform the important work they are doing.
What are your plans for your platform?
Although I will continue to create educational content, I am looking to create more long form videos that show other areas of my life.
If there was one video people will watch on your channel, which one would it be and why?
Me doing a complete bag change. So many people have never seen a stoma, even the family and friends of those that have them. Around 200,000 people in the UK have one, and half a million people live with IBD!
There is this stereotype that people only suffer with these things when they get older and it’s just not true. Educating yourself on these very common conditions is important so people do not feel ashamed and they can ask for any help they need. You’re very likely to encounter someone with a bag in your lifetime and perhaps my video will be a good conversation starter!