This project came together very quickly, after years of being personally affected by mental illness, with absolutely no intention of starting a non-profit.
We originally started as an impromptu "passion project" to design a few stickers with positive sayings. We accepted donations for the stickers, with hopes of raising a little money to buy journals for our local behavioral health hospital. A few donations quickly turned into meaningful conversations, and a strong desire to do more.
One introduction to a local mental health advocate, led to the next, and continues to lead us down a journey that we never planned on walking.
In meeting with various mental health advocates and professionals, there is a common theme......there is so much more that needs to be done to bring awareness to mental health and to prevent suicide.
Mental Health has forever been a "forbidden" subject that makes people uncomfortable to discuss. When we avoid hard topics, we prevent people that are struggling, to seek help.
A hundred years ago, families would drop off their loved one, deemed mentally ill at "lunatic asylums"or "insane asylums" and leave them there until their death. They would not talk about them, they would not visit them. They dropped them off, and never looked back. The mentally ill would live out their lives as if they were prisoners. Their graves would not be marked with their names, but marked with numbers, as to avoid public humility of their families, even after they were gone.
While we have come a long way since those times, we still have a long way to go.
Our mission with this project it to normalize mental health and encourage people that are struggling to seek help.
Let me ask you this: If you had ongoing, excruciating pain in your stomach, would you go to a clinic to find out where the pain was coming from? Would you keep the pain to yourself and do nothing to try to alleviate the pain? Would you be open to taking medications to help with the pain? Of course you would!
No one wants to be in pain! What do we want, more than anything, when we have pain?
We want the pain to stop.
It is no different with mental illness. Mental illness can also be described as "brain pain". People don't wake up and decide to have unhealthy thoughts. They aren't seeking attention, or trying to "be dramatic". They are ill. Plain and simple. They need to be encouraged to seek help for their pain, so that they don't try and alleviate the pain on their own.
Many people with "brain pain" want to end that pain. They aren't well enough to consider the effects of their lethal decision. They aren't able to think of the lasting pain they will cause to their loved ones that are left behind. They simply want to "end the pain." Well, suicide doesn't end the pain. It passes it on to many others. If you were hurting, you would never want to pass the pain onto someone else, would you? That's exactly what suicide does.
Losing a loved one to suicide is, quite possibly, one of the hardest things a person can experience in their lifetime. Death by suicide is completely preventable and avoidable.
We need to start by talking. Talking about mental health, talking about the pain we may be experiencing, and asking our loved ones if they are struggling. And if the answer is yes, we need to take action, and get them the help they need. This pain won't go away on it's own. It will continue. It will get worse. And that can become deadly.
So, I encourage you to "ask the question" to someone that might be struggling with mental illness.
"Have you thought of suicide?" If the answer is yes, then they need help. Now. Waiting a day could lead to a lethal decision, made out of desperation.
If you or your loved one is struggling with mental health, please get help. Sometimes the first practitioner/therapist/counselor we see, doesn't end up being a good fit. Well, find another one. In searching for the "right fit" you will find help, hope and healing, if you are hurting.
And that's where we started. Help, Hope, Healing 4 the Hurting. "Stickers 4 Healing" The few stickers that we created have had a ripple effect in our lives, and the lives of many. And this is only the beginning for us.
We want to get people talking about mental health. We want to normalize it. We want people to be ok with getting the help the need. It's Ok not to be OK. It's not OK, not to do anything about it.
Please, if you need help, please get it.
STAY; Tomorrow needs you
If you are having feelings of hopelessness, are in crisis, or having thoughts of suicide, please call 988. 988 is the new national crisis and suicide hotline. If you call from our (605) area code, those calls are answered right here in Sioux Falls, at the Helpline Center. We have partnered with the Helpline Center in many ways, and let me tell you, they are AMAZING! Hope is here.
If you are reading this, don't live in the (605) area code, don't fret. 988 is a national hotline. Answered 24 hours a day, by trained professionals that care. Call or TXT them, or call a friend. Get help.
You are loved.
You are worthy.
You are enough.
Your life matters.