FREE YOUR ME™ is an innovative and powerful concept by NAMI Westside Los Angeles and photographer Jennifer Cawley, in collaboration with creative producer Two Feet South, and supported by Pure Edge, Inc. NAMI Westside Los Angeles is an affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
FREE YOUR ME™ (FYM) is a mental health anti-stigma movement and dynamic social media campaign created to provide vulnerable youth community with the mental health education and support they need. From children and parents, to teachers and loved ones around the globe – mental health has never been more of a priority.
Erin Raftery Ryan, Executive Director of Nami Westside Los Angeles: “FREE YOUR ME™ is a call to action for people to get help for themselves and others, especially youth, without fear or shame. We’re raising our voices to inspire those who want to speak their truth but worry how it will be received. We want more people to know there is help and hope for those impacted by mental health conditions.”
The FYM message is simple: Make yourself heard. NOW.
Beginning October 10, join more than 100 acclaimed FREE YOUR ME™ ambassadors from the world of entertainment, sports and influencers on World Mental Health Day as they share synchronized social media posts of exclusive portrait images, coupled with their own personal stories of mental health experiences, while encouraging others to open up and get the help they need. With an anticipated cumulative reach in the hundreds of millions, the goal is to eradicate the stigma around mental health, motivate people to get the help for themselves or others, and to shine a light on the need for more mental health education for our youth.
Some ambassadors include (Musicians) Black Pumas, LP, grandson, MILCK, Lauren Ruth Ward, Austin Mahone, Brandon Jenner, Shinedown, Lindsey Stirling, Forest Blakk, Eric Burton, Kevin Griffin (Actors) Jane Seymour, Derek Hough, Deep Roy, Spencer Garrett, DeWanda Wise, John C McGinley, Alison Sudol, Ricki Lake, AnnaLynne McCord, Scarlett Estevez, Alexis Knapp, Nikki Blonsky, Bobby Berk, Barry Sloane, Darin Olien (Athletes) Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece, Joakim Noah, Steve Wright, Paul Rabil, Danny Cipriani (Influencers) Peng Peng Lee, Thomas Petrou, Alex Warren, Michael Sanzone, Amelie Zilber, Andrea Russett, and (LGBTQ Artists, Advocates+Activists) X-Ari, Jacob Tobia, Ryan Cassata, Juan Acosta, Ty Deran, Jazzmyne Robbins, Ally Hills, Candace Quarrels, Dino Petrera and Juan Acosta.
I first learned about LP’s involvement in this project back in August 2019, when photographer Jennifer Cawley shared her post. You will find it here. I will update my blog post, once LP will share her story.
You also can join the movement and FREE YOUR ME™! Start by sharing posts that resonate with you, then share your own story. Reveal how mental health has impacted your life, and what and who has helped you. Sharing your experience can help others feel less alone and more willing to get the help they need to survive and thrive.
For more information about FREE YOUR ME™ visit https://freeyourme.namila.org/
NAMI Westside Los Angeles offers free education programs along with support, guidance, and hope for the growing number of Angelenos affected by mental health conditions. Pure Edge, Inc. is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to creating strategies & programs for educators and learners to support social, emotional, and academic development. Two Feet South is a multidisciplinary creative agency that has produced award-winning work for worldwide brands and public figures.
On a personal note. Since it is World Mental Health Day. It is crucial that we will eradicate stigma around mental health. Our mental health is as important as physical. We shouldn’t act and pretend like it isn’t so. Your mental health can affect you in ways you wouldn’t have imagined. I’ve shared on this blog my personal stories and struggles, I’ve never hidden away the fact that I suffer from depression and neurosis. It’s been a long journey to recovery, and somewhere along the way, I’ve made my peace, that it’s something that will be a part of me and I will never completely get rid of it. BUT I’ve learned how to cope with it, what helps me, and what I should avoid. LP and her music was a big and changing factor in fighting with myself and for myself (pun intended). And there are days when I mostly feel like an “old” myself, but I’ve also changed for the better some things that were hurting me. So change is sometimes necessary, so we could evolve and sort of become a better version of ourselves.