Hopelessness took the life of my dad when I was 19 years old. It tried to take mine at 25, but thankfully, Hope won. I’m here today to share my story, encourage you to join our Global Hope Challenge, and spread the word that no matter what life brings, there is always a way to find hope.
For me, I found Hope in different things at different times, but my one thing is definitely my work at iFred and now teaching Hope to kids. As my biggest commitment was to be sure to give back to a disease that had once taken so much from me: depression and anxiety. And since that day, I’ve worked on and continue to fulfill that promise by speaking at the World Bank, United Nations, and conferences around the world sharing the importance of ending stigma and getting support for any mental health challenges. What was most ironic to me when starting this work, is that while less than 25% of those with mental health challenges were getting support, depression and anxiety are very treatable and of any disease states, these have the most hope for recovery.
Our Hopeful Minds program, was inspired by my desire to actually learn if it is possible to prevent anxiety and depression through a skill based program. It was developed from leading educators, scientists, Ted speakers, youth, business leaders, and more. We have some fantastic research coming out of Northern Ireland showing it is reducing anxiety, increasing emotional regulation, and increasing confidence in children, and we hope to build and grow that research. While the targets 8-10 year old youth, a critical age for the development of anxiety and depression, it can be used with any age group, so I encourage you to check it out and bring it to your community if so inspired.
To get the conversation moving further, we have a Global Hope Challenge Happening now, Mental Health Month, and through the end of May encouraging all around the world the #OneThing that brings Hope during dark days. As we ALL have dark days. The question is, do we ruminate in the days and/or worry about them, or do we find something to inspire us and help bring us out of the endless cycle of the mind? I have found for me, that can be the difference between solving a problem and going down a long, dark, deep, all encompassing hole of despair.
I hope you join our challenge, regardless of if you struggle with depression and anxiety. As we all need to share strategies for creating, maintaining, and sustaining a Hopeful Mindset. And who knows, you just may give someone the one message they needed to hear on that specific day to shift their hopeless mindset.
For all those that work in mental health, and speak publicly about their challenges and successes, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. May all of your activities during this month reach far and wide, supporting all those that need to hear your message.
Join the challenge here: www.herox.com/hope