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To Write Love on Her Arms
Thank you To Write Love on Her Arms for taking the time to talk about your incredible organization!
What is To Write Love On Her Arms and how did it come about?
To Write Love on Her Arms is a mental health non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inspire, inform, and also invest directly into treatment and recovery. It all started 12 years ago when our founder, Jamie, wanted to help a friend. She was entering treatment, but didn’t have the funds to pay for it. He took the time to write her story out, and then he designed a t-shirt to sell. The story became an overnight MySpace sensation, and it hasn’t stopped growing since!
How does TWLOHA engage with people living with mental health and/or addiction issues, who self-harm or are experiencing suicidal thoughts?
We receive messages from all over the world every single day from people who are struggling with the topics TWLOHA speaks on every single day. We have a team of interns that answer every single message. We’re directly giving encouragement, and point toward relevant resources to those people as well. We also provide counseling/treatment scholarships to those in need. If you, or someone you know, is struggling we encourage you to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What has made TWLOHA successful? How has the organization overcome its challenges?
I think our ability to speak about mental illness and mental health openly really kick started TWLOHA. We have spoken without shame and without hesitation. Having that honesty from the start shows people that we’re open to talking about the difficult things, and that’s not changing anytime soon! When it comes to overcoming challenges, I think you have to have a lot of patience and grace for the people you work with and whatever challenge is being thrown your way. Sometimes our work is not easy, but we’re always open to the possibility that there are positive solutions no matter what.
What do the staff at TWLOHA do to practice self-care or to cope with their own struggles?
The TWLOHA team is very blessed to work in an environment where it’s easy to say “I need a break”. So often it can be challenging for people to ask for what they need in a work environment, but thankfully our staff really upholds TWLOHA’s mission of self-care. You can find us at the beach, reading at our favorite coffee shop, or simply spending time with friends. It’s just being able to create those healthy boundaries and knowing what’s best for you moving forward.
What is one thing people might be surprised to hear about TWLOHA?
A lot of people are surprised to hear that our team is only made up of only 16 people. We work in a small beach town in Florida running all operations between those 16 people. It just sort of proves that you don’t need a multitude of people to do impactful work, just a multitude of passion for what you’re doing.
What’s next for TWLOHA? If the sky was the limit, what would TWLOHA do?
There’s always something in the works at the TWLOHA office it seems. Whether it’s partnerships with inspiring musicians, or what music festival we’re planning on attending, there’s always a sense of excitement in the office. Now that our World Suicide Prevention Day campaign is winding down, we’ll look forward to reflecting over the past year, and looking to the future at what’s in store for 2019. I only speak for myself when I say that if the sky was the limit, TWLOHA would open a West Coast branch! We have such good relationships with people on the West Coast, it would be so wild to see what TWLOHA could do if we expanded!
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to share their story? Whether on the TWLOHA website or with others?
Find someone you trust. Your story is beautiful and sacred, and you’re the only person who can tell it in its most raw and real form. Be honest. If things are heavy, say they’re heavy. Let others carry some of the weight for you. Your story is not a burden.
How can people get involved with the organization?
We encourage you to check out our Get Involved page on our website, www.twloha.com. Spreading a message of hope and help is probably way easier than some may think. Simply purchasing information cards from our online store to post at schools and coffee shops, or having a MOVE conference in your community to educate others. No way is too small to spread awareness and start a conversation.
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