How one emerging fashion label is using their slogan t-shirts with the help of influencers to promote mental health awareness
Over the last couple of months there have been a number of tragic celebrity deaths by suicide, including TV host and author Anthony Bourdain, fashion designer Kate Spade, DJ Tim Bergling (commonly known as Avicii) and Love Island contestant Sophie Gradon.
In light of these tragedies, one newly established clothing label has created #MentalHealthIsTrending, a product range and viral campaign, calling for awareness of mental illness. Created by Helen Hope, founder of sustainable fashion brand, Heartknoxx, the campaign hopes to shine a spotlight on real expereinces of mental ill health. Born out of her own experience of chronic anxiety and panic attacks, and with the support of her family, Helen was able to turn her experience into something positive.
She designed a clothing range, featuring key slogans such as ‘Let’s make mental health a conversation’, ‘It’s OK not to feel OK’ and ‘I’m fine’ in a bid to help stomp out the stigmas attached to mental illness. From the sale of these products, 10% of all proceeds go to the Mental Health Foundation.
Helen commented: “I was determined to use the message ‘I’m Fine’ to create awareness because so many of us say we’re ok, but are we really?
“I think the slogan has a really strong message. ‘I’m Fine’ can be interpreted by the individual in so many ways and so, I think that’s why it’s resonated with our audience so much and in such a short space of time.”
The campaign has gained the backing of several UK influencers, such as Love Island stars Zara Holland and Malin Andersson, BBC TV and Radio 1 presenter Katie Thistleton, BBC Children’s TV personality and sports commentator Ben Shires, as well as Channel 4’s First Dates stars Laura Tott and Cici Coleman.
Feel honoured to be supporting this movement with @mentalhealthistrending . We are at a stage now where I honestly think everyone has either suffered from mental health illness or knows someone who is suffering, yet people still feel ashamed to talk about it. This needs to change. It really is ok not to be ok. I truly believe one day it will be as easy to talk about mental health as it is to talk about a broken leg, and this is something we can all help to happen. We need to remove this stigma now, enough lives have been lost, it’s time we all start talking. A problem shared really is a problem halved. Share your stories and tag @mentalhealthistrending and join our movement ❤️
As cliche as it sounds, I will continue to say it. Don't judge people too quickly, you never know what they are going through. Smile at strangers, it can change someone's day. Mental health is real. It's not an excuse. I am so happy the guys at @heartknoxx @mentalhealthistrending contacted me to help support their movement. This is something that is so close to home for me, with family members suffering with mental health problems daily. I urge anyone who feels they are suffering to keep talking. There's nothing embarrassing about feeling like shit. #imfine #mentalhealth
Don’t do a Ross from Friends and say it when you’re really not. I’m really not always fine at all. There was a time when I was really really really not fine, and I thank the universe for family, friends, therapy, medication, books and finally figuring out what works for me when it comes to looking after my mental health. More than anything I thank the universe that #mentalhealthistrending because seeing super fab seemingly gloriously happy friends and celebs admit that sometimes they’re not ok hun, made me realise I was allowed to not be ok hun too. LOVE these t shirts @mentalhealthistrending @heartknoxx give em a follow!
The brand has quickly developed a reputation for providing a voice for those who have experienced mental health issues. The Instagram account, also described as the ‘Warrior Wall’, is a forum for the campaign’s followers, with people able to share their own stories or thoughts on mental health awareness.
Since launching, Helen says, “The page has been inundated with positive messages of support. We get so many private messages from people either too scared to share their stories openly, frustrated with the lack of support or just looking for advice, which just seems to amplify the problem for me.”
“With the sole objective of normalising conversations around mental health, Helen wants to highlight that there’s a person behind each and every post on the account. She states, “We are all too guilty of scrolling past the polished little squares on our phones and forgetting to acknowledge this is a real person. I feel this campaign really confronts this.”
“The statistics state that one in four people are affected by mental illness but I suspect this is so much higher. How can it be one in four, when every person with a mental illness is likely to have friends and family who are also affected by it too?”
So, what’s next for the campaign?
“Our long-term goal is to create a video campaign with each of our influencers and to turn the stories from our Instagram page into a book with all book proceeds, donated to Mental Health Charities in the UK,” Helen says.
“The movement is more than just slogan t-shirts. It's something that is not only changing my life but the lives of the people I've been involved with so far, too. We are extremely passionate about normalising conversations around mental illness and we won't stop until this becomes a global campaign.”
MentalHealthIsTrending is the latest in a line of fashion brands looking to raise awareness and give back to charity. In Music We Trust donate 50% of their profits to mental health Mind, while Ninety Percent give back 90% of their profits to a range of charities.
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