Initiating conversation and action surrounding mental health forms a sense of compassion and understanding, which can contribute to building a greater network of support throughout our community.
We build this sense of community through multiple platforms and initiatives, such as our Definition Petition. This petition serves to alter the definition of suicide to reflect the effect of mental illness and acknowledges the impact of mental health in these situations. Additionally, we empower our community through our Pink Heart Project, as pink is the color of unconditional love. Wearing pink demonstrates acceptance and support for one another, including the struggles we may face that are not readily present or discussed. By sharing our Pink Hearts throughout our community, we encourage each other to “Be the One” for someone and offer a constant reminder of the support, love, and acceptance we have for individuals living with a mental/brain health illness or pain.
Through our mission to raise awareness and promote conversations surrounding mental health, we have participated in collaborations throughout West Michigan to erase the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide. More specifically, we have collaborated with East Grand Rapids Public Schools as the 2023 Hearts of Gold beneficiary, which allows us to promote positive mental health throughout schools while also acknowledging the importance of beginning open conversations from a younger age. The sooner we begin talking about mental health, the sooner the stigma can be erased.
By implementing activities, conversations, and hope in our society, we can evoke conversation and support one another on our mental health journeys. A collaboration of voices in the community is a theme that will be highlighted in our event, “One Community. Many Voices” on September 21st at the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park from 6-9 pm. The event will include a special performance from Brian Vander Ark, lead singer of “The Verve Pipe,” and raise awareness on how we can erase the stigma and negative emotions associated with mental /brain illness and suicide. With this, we remind you that “The Door is Always Open,” and more information and resources can be accessed through our website, iunderstandloveheals.org.