Last year was a very busy time for myself and AMHA, not only was I personally battling my own Autism, Physical and Mental Health, but also putting everything I had into what could have turned into a sinking ship due to delays, technical issues and lack of funding. Somehow I managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat and launched AMHA in September of last year, since that time we have managed to go viral several times on Twitter with numbers continuing to grow slowly, but steady right across various social media platforms. Im also pleased to see how quickly our community has grown, at last count with over 300 readers a day. Im also pleased to now have 12 contributors spanning across a whole range of conditions and subjects within Autism and Mental Health via film, blogging, photography, and that doesnt include our new guest content area which is becoming quite popular for sharing stories, and news. The website has been expanding everyweek since we launched in September with new content almost every day from our contributors and new layouts and features based on feedback from our community. I am still busy developing our brand and rejigging bits and pieces all over the site, with the hopes to improve loading times and stability on mobiles and touch screen devices which we know has been causing many of you to struggle. I will not go into future plans just yet, but we have been planning some great new sections of the site for the summer which will include education and employment if all things go well. We also have lots of new sections to add to our existing pages, you may have noticed today that some areas of the site, especially the homepage have had a move around to allow for our new content which will be adding in the next month or so. I will state again, what you see now is only the first phase of AMHA, I have plans drawn up for several more phases which will expand our site once funding can be acquired which will hopefully make our platform more accessible, functionable and add far more features and opportunities for our growing community over the next few years. January 2018 ended on a very positive note, I was very pleased to have attended the Feel Happy on The Spectrum event by Fixers.org.uk this week on the 30th Jan, I have personally come back with lots of ideas and thoughts for the future. I will do a seperate blog piece about the event once fixers release their report and new website for the event. Although i didnt get to take part in the panel due to my own mental health struggles on the day, I spent a great deal of time in the morning sharing experiences of the local healthcare system and hearing from young people about their experiences on a number of areas. Im hoping to attend several more events this year to try and network, and get the word out about AMHA so we can continue to reach more people, supporters and contributors. In the meantime the site itself has been developing at a very rapid pace, we have been concentrating on getting all our main areas finished which have been left in limbo since the launch, MY BIO INCLUDED - Sorry to all who have been waiting to hear more about my own story. Lastly, I would like to make a very small announcement, as of 2018, due to the demand of AMHA, along with the many ideas and projects myself and my family wish to build over the next few years, we have decided to create a new organisation seperate to AMHA called The Neurodiversity Foundation, an apt name we all agreed which would fit a 21st century charity with the aim to represent a neurodiverse population. As myself and my family are all very enthusiastic about helping and supporting not only those on the spectrum, but also those with Mental Health, Special Needs and the physically disabled, unfortunately AMHA is not the brand we felt would be appropriate to do this all under. At this time we are just in discussions about the foundations of our new charity aswell exploring funding options but i will share further information when the time is right. On a personal note, I want to use this opportunity to apologies for my lack of blogging over the last month, I have recieved a few requests about an update from those who follow my story. I will try to be open and honest about my own struggles which i do find hard to communicate despite being the creator of AMHA. Although i have a great small team helping me behind the scenes to manage AMHA, the website is solely managed and developed by myself , so at times I can get behind and miss some of your emails, tweets, messages etc... As I am battling with my own various Mental illnesses due to the stresses of everyday life living with Autism and physical disabilities. With no help and support, I can be quite on my own with health issues and can have days where im stuck at home with sensory blankets wrapped around me to help keep calm and block out sensory overloading. I hope to update everyone who follows my story via blogging very soon as its important to me to share what life is like living with Mental Health on the spectrum. As always I want to thank everyone involved with AMHA, and everyone who submits content on a regular basis, we would not exist without your support and kind words which continue to encouraged me to keep pushing forward. Thankyou Sonny Hawkins Creator of AMHA
We are really pleased to announce our CEO Sonny who created AMHA will be attending the next Feel Happy event ran by fixers.org.uk on the 30th January 2018 to discuss with other fixers about several key areas including education, healthcare, employment, in the home and in the media. Sonny will be feeding back not only his own experiences of the Buckinghamshire Autism and adult mental health system, but also that of other AMHA contributors. We will be feeding back to our community on the outcome of the event once a report has been published by Fixers. If you would like to follow along on the day, check out Twitter with hashtag #feelhappyonthesprectrum To find out more about Fixers Feel Happy events check out their past feel happy fixes here: http://www.fixers.org.uk/feel-happy-fix/the-feel-happy-fix-live.php
We would like to say a big thankyou to the Buckingham Table for a grant of £200 to help us cover the costs for next years hosting and website renewal. www.buckinghamtable.org As AMHA has been self funded since its creation, this grant came at a very good time for us. We are so pleased to be making so much progress only having launched in September and look forward to sharing our plans for AMHA with you all very soon.