As a therapist, I am a big proponent of face to face contact and having live conversation. With that being said, I have really learned social media to be a great tool to spread awareness and shed light to fighting mental health stigma. A few months ago, I stumbled upon the page “schizophrenic.nyc” on Instagram. Michelle, the founder of the page and clothing line company was kind enough to share her story with me as well as to allow me to share her inspiring story with others.
From her words to your eyes (and ears)-
Walking down the New York city streets it’s not hard to see someone homeless. Also, it’s apparent that most NYC homeless have a mental illness. Sometimes they are yelling or signaling towards people who are imaginary. Their body might be present, but their mind is somewhere else. This upsets me. Why? Because I have Schizophrenia and I’m not homeless. Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have support that makes it possible for me to live a “normal” life. Without the help of my family and friends I could easily be homeless. So I decided I wanted to give back. I wanted to start a company that could start a conversation about Mental Illness as well as help out with the NYC homeless population. This is why I started Schizophrenic.NYC. Schizophrenic.NYC is a clothing line that makes people talk about mental health. When a person with Schizophrenia looks at a plain rorschach test, they see it from a different perspective. By redesigning the test with new patterns and colors, now everyone is forced to look at it from a different perspective. It starts a discussion that most people never had before. We take a portion of the profits and donate to charities in NYC that help out with the mentally ill population. Social change in NYC. Join the movement.
I hope by reading Michelle’s story, you will be inspired at some capacity, whether it is internally motivating or it encourages you to spread mental health awareness. Mental illness is not a person’s identity and it certainly does not define them.