Inspiring Hope Online Through The #WhyNotChallenge

All across the world people are taking part in this movement towards suicide pervention.

Mental health advocates all over the world are joining this challenge to take a personal, active method to suicide prevention. Simply posting a hotline on social media is a passive, non-empathic method to mental health awareness and is often found intimidating. Let’s stop sharing posts, but posting a little part of ourselves to share. It’s time to actively care about each other and show it in a movement that gives everyone a unique way to participate that may save lives.

On June 18th, I launched the #WhyNotChallenge for suicide prevention. It’s a simple challenge that you can do right now. Make a list of 11 reasons why not to go and post it on Instagram with the hashtag. It is a non-aggressive, proactive, and reflective exercise for everyone. The goal is to be able to look up the hashtag and see a million unique reasons why life is worth living. People die by suicide because they run out of reasons to stay, lets give them more reasons to live.

There are a lot of reasons why I started this challenge. As a mental health advocate, I have always been the therapist friend, the open-minded listener, and the late night support line. I remember in grade school when I just had gotten into the swing of Twitter. A girl was crying out for help through social media as she was contemplating death. I stayed up all night, crying, talking for hours upon hours to this complete stranger about how she might change her mind if she could just make it through the night. I remember in high school when my friends would come to me like I was better than a school therapist, if we ever had one. To this day, I try to make those small differences in lives of people around me and through media.

The biggest misconception about mentally ill people is that you have to be part of a certain group or hang out with other mentally ill people. No matter your friend group, your workplace, your household, or your community there are mentally ill people all around. I don’t need to post a bunch of statistics to prove how why suicide prevention is related to us all. Every individual is either affected or knows someone affected by mental illness. We all have friends, family, even idols that we have lost due to suicide. Most of the time it was sudden and no one saw warning signs because of how well mental illness can hide silently in people.

Sometimes we don’t know what we have until we see it in front of us. I have used this list technique to help others and myself countless times for years. It has proven to be a successful method for a majority of people.

Being a content maker, I always strive to make media for the better, to influence and inspire people through my art. For this challenge, I wanted to lead a movement to inspire others to be the content makers and show their art. It’s incredible how personalities can shine through each individual list. It hasn’t been long since I’ve launched the challenge, but the positive and successful feedback has been truly overwhelming and inspiring.

Regardless of whether or not you yourself suffer from mental illness, take a moment and write down your own unique 11 reasons why not to go. Then post it with the hashtag and be a part of the million reason #WhyNotChallenge.

#mentalhealth #mentalhealthadvocate #suicidepervention

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