Acclaimed poet, writer, actor and activist, Hussain has supported Samaritans for many years as part of his mental health campaigning.
In March 2017, Hussain set a Guinness World Record, partnered with Kings College London and supported by Samaritans, for the world’s largest mental health lesson. The turnout was incredible and a record-setting 538 pupils from 14 local schools took part in the 30 minute class.
Later that year, Hussain launched an EP during Mental Health Awareness Week entitled Am I Going Too Deep, with 36p from every download donated to Samaritans. Commenting on some of the reasons behind the EP Hussain said "There's too many misconceptions in society; that you have to be a man, that you have to be strong, that you can't talk".
In 2017, Hussain teamed up with Samaritans to launch his short video Playground to mark World Mental Health Day. It encourages adults to think back to a time when life was simpler, looking back to his own childhood.
In 2018 Hussain received an Honorary Fellowship from Kings College London for his mental health campaigning work. The fellowship came at a time when he had just launched the UK’s largest mental health youth festival in partnership with Twitter - #HussainsHouseLive.
That year Hussain also supported our Big Listen campaign, to spread the word that listening can be the first step to saving a life. He kicked off the conversation with an appearance on BBC Breakfast then later on BBC Radio 5 Live, together with Tom Walker and Shayne Ward. Hussain performed a specially written poem for the show, called Indirect Emotion, about learning how to listen to and support a friend who’s struggling.
In January 2019 Hussain supported our Brew Monday campaign to speak out about loneliness and encourage people to reach out to support each other in a specially produced film. BRIT Award nominated IDLES front man, Joe Talbot, radio presenter Gemma Cairney and Dr Alex George joined Hussain in the film, where they're seen building a trail of biscuits shaped like dominoes to illustrate how reaching out to someone could be the start of them feeling less lonely and the beginning of a positive domino effect.
In 2020 Hussain contributed to our How to Listen book where he was interviewed about his own personal experiences.
To mark 1 year on from Covid lockdown, March 2021, Hussain wrote a poem Here to Listen (with accompanying video) in support of our work and acknowledging the hugely challenging year everyone had experienced. The film was released to press and shared widely on social media.
May 2022 saw the debut publication of Hussain's poetry collection - Life is Sad and Beautiful. Launched during Mental Health Awareness Week with various book signings and screenings of short films bringing the poems to life, the book is a Sunday Times Bestseller.