June 20 2017

Skylar’s Yoo Cause: Raising Awareness of Mental Health

One of the motivating factors in wanting to start a new business is that I’ll be able to donate a percentage of all sales to a cause. I decided early on that Skylar Yoo’s cause would be about raising the awareness of mental health. I myself am bipolar and my mother, who is now deceased, was too. She committed suicide when I was just 20-years-old. I’ve never shared this with anyone online and only a handful of people know. I’ve learned a lot of interesting facts about bipolar disorder (40 here) including the fact that 80% of people with it will contemplate suicide at least once in their lives. In the general population, only 1 in 12 people will contemplate a suicide attempt.

One day, I will be brave enough to write about the traumatic experiences I went through when I first went manic. It includes a six week stay at a mental hospital where I was, literally, locked up. My youngest son was only seven-months-old and it was torture not seeing him. What were all the moments I was missing? Though the whole experience was a nightmare, there were some positive things that came out of it. My love and appreciation for my husband, my family and my close friends became unbelievably stronger.

There is this negative stigma surrounding mental disorders like bipolar or depression, but I made a conscious decision to find the positives.

Does it make you more creative? Perhaps. As stated in Psychology Today, “A recent study carried out at Stanford University by Santosa and colleagues found that people with bipolar disorder and creative discipline controls scored significantly more highly than healthy controls on a measure of creativity called the Barron-Welsh Art Scale. In a related study the same authors sought to identify temperamental traits that people with bipolar disorder and creative people have in common. They found that both shared tendencies for mild elation and depression with gradual shifts from one to the other, openness, irritability, and neuroticism (roughly speaking, a combination of anxiety and perfectionism).

“It is interesting to note that, according to this study, one of the temperamental traits that people with bipolar disorder and creative people have in common is a tendency for mild elation and depression with gradual shifts from one to the other. During periods of mild depression people with bipolar disorder and creative people may be able to retreat inside themselves, introspect, put thoughts and feelings into perspective, eliminate irrelevant ideas, and focus on the bare essentials. Then during periods of mild elation they may be able to gather the vision, confidence, and stamina for creative expression and realization.”

It’s great to see that mental health is now being discussed.

This news gave me hope: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading a new campaign to end stigma around mental health.

The Heads Together campaign is a partnership with experienced and inspiring charities that provide frontline mental health support to people who may need it, whilst raising awareness and tackling stigma. Supported by The Royal Foundation, the Heads Together campaign aims to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing.”

“A spokesman for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry said:
‘Through their work with young people, emergency response, homeless charities, and with veterans, Their Royal Highnesses have seen time and time again that unresolved mental health problems lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges.

‘They are passionate about tackling the stigma surrounding the issue. Too often, they have seen that people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. They want to help change the national conversation.'”

I want to create one of these “like-minded” charities to help those struggling with mental illnesses. Let’s see if I can do this!

Art by raquel-cobi.


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