our mission is simple.
It's to remind you that your struggles don't define you; they equip you for your journey.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

#theartofmentalheatlh series: Lucy

One of the many ways in which we seek to honor Mental Health is by honoring diversity and creativity in the field. So we have started a series called #theartofmentalhealth that showcases and highlights individuals stories and talents as it focuses on shedding light on the stigma of mental health, as well as the many facets of what it looks or feels like to have a mental illness. For this series we introduce to you Lucy.

Lucy's striking, emotional artwork combines intense subject matter with portraits and rainbows of color. Oils are the primary medium used. Mental health awareness is a commonly ignored topic, and it is the hope of the artist to create an internal dialogue within the viewer about the mental health experiences depicted.
Are you a creative who wants to showcase your work for #theartofmentalhealth series?
Send over your work including a bio and details of your submission to

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Toddlers Have Feelings Too... And Even Struggle With Depression

Toddlers can suffer from depression. Yep, total shocker right? Many people are surprised by this. And I get how it can be hard to absorb when depression has such intense feelings, and most people feel that in the short lifespan of a toddler, what experiences have they possibly gone through that would cause them to struggle with depression?

The first thing I want to tackle in regards to this topic is mental health and what it is. All people have mental health, no matter what age. The vague term for mental health is a person's social, psychological and emotional wellbeing. These factors are the things that regulate our confidence, self-esteem, autonomy and a great sense of independence. When we have these things we are able to enjoy life to its fullest capacity and we can thrive in all avenues of our inner world. We are able to form positive relationships, problem-solve and deal with challenges, and we are able to regulate our feelings in positive ways and use our abilities and gifts to reach our highest level of potential.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Why You Should Be Practicing Mental Realness (And How to Do It)

Self-care is the best care.
Are you taking care of yourself? Are you giving yourself the space that you need to recharge? Understand that there is nothing that you can offer anyone if you are operating on empty. Be in tune with your levels as you practice mental realness and know that in order to be your best self, you must first take care of yourself. Self-care is a highly useful tool and a great form of preventative medicine. Even if all you have is 5 minutes to yourself in a day, those 5 minutes can go a long way if you choose to put yourself first during that time.
Read the full article posted on
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Monday, October 10, 2016

How To Avoid The Winter Blues

Have you ever heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

There are many different forms to depression, and a mood disorder specified with a seasonal pattern means that depressive symptoms appear during fall or winter months and remit in the spring and summer.

So why does this happen?

If you live in areas with polar climates, the winter can be brutal. In a way it forces you to isolate on snowed in days and often it can feel way too cold to enjoy a lot of the activities that you might have done during the spring or summer. This can cause people's moods to fluctuate, and a lot of what they found joy in diminishes through those rough cold months.

For me personally, another issue that has affected my depression during this season are the holidays. I come from a family-oriented background. Holidays were always about spending time with each other, but when my father died in 2007 things began to change and because he was the man that held my family together I noticed that the holidays brought forth more sorrow than joy. It has taken years for me to bounce back and learn how to heal without his presence.

There are more natural factors that also play a part in seasonal depression. Rather than try to spell it out for you I retrieved this information from

  • Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
  • Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
So what are the signs that you may be struggling with the winter blues?

  1. Irritability
  2. Tiredness or low energy
  3. Feeling sluggish or agitated
  4. Having difficulty concentrating
  5. Appetite changes
  6. Weight Gain
  7. Having low energy
  8. Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed

                  And how can you put together a wellness plan to beat this thing?

                  1. Exercise regularly: this helps to relieve stress and anxiety
                  2. Go outside: remember that reduce natural lighting can cause and onset of SAD, so try going for a run or a walk, and if you are indoors keep you blinds open so that light can come in elevate your aura.
                  3. Omega-3 fatty acids: Though these studies are still being intensely monitored, omega fatty acids has shown to enhance brain functioning including your moods and aspect of your personality

                  *understand that if your symptoms worsen and you begin to have thoughts of suicide then please seek medical attention.

                  So what are your wellness plans for this fall/winter?

                  photo by lisa fatios

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                  Thursday, October 6, 2016

                  Stand Taller

                  She told me,
                  "You know, it’s okay to stand a little bit taller, you worked for that.” And her words have been running around my doubts ever since.

                  We don’t do that very much do we? Believe that we can stand tall because we have a good head on our strong shoulders that probably carry more than they should. As women, we are constantly striving to put our best foot forward, we apologize before we speak, we can’t take compliments when they come addressed with our names on it. We are continuously being limited and forced to be made smaller in all sorts of directions and the worst part?
                  We limit ourselves and each other because of it.

                  When’s the last time someone complimented you and rebutled with all the reasons you didn’t deserve that compliment? How many times do you just switch the subject so you don’t have to come to terms with how uncomfortable it makes you?
                  I do the same thing, every single time. Think to myself, these words aren’t mine to keep-- BUT THEY ARE. 

                  Believing in myself has been a daily, 24 year struggle. It was my sophomore year of College that I realized I had a really unhealthy mentality towards myself and overall really no self-esteem. I doubted my own abilities, in fact didn’t even believe I had any to begin with. This past year where I learned the art of standing taller. The potential that people saw in me encouraged and motivated me to see a glimpse of it too.

                  A few months ago, I was performing for a conference and the tech people at the venue happened to be two guys. I had musicians playing with me and during both poems and while they played through the first one, I had gotten a lot of feedback that it was too loud and they couldn’t hear me. So when I went to talk to the guys and asked if they could turn the musicians down to balance my out, I found myself having to communicate to them a few times. Ask clarifying questions, when and how things would be done and give details for what I wanted. I found myself apologizing so much and thinking, “I feel so bad.” “They probably hate me.” “Am I being difficult?” “I hope they don’t think I’m a diva.” We have this horrible narratives going through our heads thinking something is wrong with us when we speak our minds. But baby, you are brilliant and this world needs what your glorious mind has to offer.

                  Women are burden carriers, comprising of our own burdens and the burdens of others. A lot of times we take almost everything personally, if something goes wrong then we believe that falls on us and who we are. LISTEN — knowing what you want and asking questions does not make you a diva— it makes you a human who knows what she’s doing and is competent in the art of running things. Congratulations, you’re a boss and that’s nothing to be apologetic for!

                   This year I challenge you to find all the ways you can explore the art of standing taller, learn what you’re good at it and EMBRACE IT, show it off if you want to.
                  No more limiting yourself, no more apologizing, take the compliment, say thank you and mean it better yet say thank you and challenge yourself to believe it.
                  Hold your head up a little taller baby, you’ve come a long way.

                   Written by Arielle Estoria

                  Photo by Giulia Bertelli
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                  Monday, October 3, 2016

                  Your Moon Will Know Victory

                  Beneath the starry night sky
                  Stillness glows in emerging waves,
                  And underneath the peaceful façade,
                  A righteous battle unfolds each night -
                  “There is a centre in this Universe.”
                  “But there are no definitive circles.”
                  Then what of the needy star that longs
                  And shines in prime pursuit?
                  Then what of the selfless night sky
                  That asks no man his due,
                  And nurtures and glows in painless glory
                  To simulate the pleasant blue?
                  When magic unfurls in deepest places,
                  There are no shooting stars.
                  For hope and love in seamless movement,
                  They’re anomalies in a shimmering scar.
                  Miles away from defined perihelia,
                  They stray toward the dark.
                  For in the heart of chosen blindness,
                  They’ll guide your glorious path.
                  Not every star that glows in limits
                  Seeks the rewarding light;
                  But somewhere in this beautiful infinity,
                  The moon knows victory on this night.

                  Written by,
                  Kartika Ladwal

                  photo by logan adermatt

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