OPINION — Six years ago, I was suicidal. I was recovering from physical and sexual abuse, struggling in my marriage and raising four children.
In my darkest moment, I found myself looking in the bathroom mirror, holding a bar of soap. I wrote, “Step into your life” on the mirror. These words transformed me and shifted the language I used with myself – and how I saw my battles. This change in mindset, a supportive therapist, a few close friends and continued messages on my mirror helped me find my way out of that dark time.
COVID-19 has brought a lot of darkness to homes across America. Many are dealing with mental health issues; some for the first time. While we are all in different situations, we are all battling the same storm; and amid the fear and disruption, it is more important than ever that we take care of our mental health.
Destigmatizing mental health and speaking out about it has become my life’s work. Years after my epiphany moment in the mirror, I realized our youth were struggling in the same ways I was. I launched my business, See Your Strength, in 2017 – so others could find hope, self-compassion and encouragement in their toughest moments. See Your Strength sells mirror decals with encouraging phrases like “The world needs you…GO SHINE!” and, “Take care how you talk to yourself. You are listening.”
With a $100 investment from a friend, a few local orders and a desire to make a difference, my business was up and running. The tipping point for See Your Strength came when I learned how to advertise on Facebook. I knew my product was important, but I needed to get it in front of the right eyes and had limited funds to do so. I used the ad targeting to reach school counselors and other professionals.
Thanks to Facebook, I was able to establish a strong clientele base to build my business and start an email marketing campaign to over 10,000 contacts. Today, there are more than 700 schools across the country with See Your Strength decals on their mirrors, along with colleges, mental health programs, Native American Tribes, Utah businesses and military bases.
Business was continuing to grow, but when the pandemic hit I found myself floundering. Suddenly my product was seen as nonessential and schools with already tight budgets prioritized physical health precautions. As I watched the world twist in confusion and dealt with the changes taking place within my own home (hello, homeschooling), I felt crippling anxiety closing in again, and it brought me to another really low place.
This experience made me realize that my mission is, in fact, “essential.” I had the tools I needed, but so many do not. With this newfound motivation, I poured my heart into launching my newest product, “Grateful For You.” These are kits with decals, a booklet and a mailer targeted to launch on Facebook Shops by the end of the year. The book prompts you to write things you are grateful for about another person and mail it to them, in an effort to make your loved ones feel uplifted and appreciated.
I know the power of just a few words, and I want us to share that with one another.
With the mental health system already under immense pressure before the pandemic, the health and economic repercussions of this virus have set us reeling – and here in Utah, where suicide is a leading cause of preventable death, we are particularly at risk.
If you are drowning in these challenging times, please know there is help, and if you can, just ask. Pay special attention to those around you. If they seem like they need a boost, they probably do. Order them a set of decals, bring them a treat or just call them and ask how they are doing. I believe in my business, but it’s not about the business. It’s about the message.
If you need help, please reach out. Pushing these numbers on your phone could make all the difference.
- Crisis Text Line: Text Hello to 741741.
- UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000.
- The Utah Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK.
- SafeUT app.
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