Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.
If you logged onto Instagram in the past year, you’ve likely seen a number of celebrities sharing about their personal mental health struggles and journeys. Some of them, like Miley Cyrus, you may have seen sporting a To Write Love on Her Arms shirt, with sleeves reading “Hope is real” and “Your story is important.”
To Write Love on Her Arms–or TWLOHA, for short–is a mental health nonprofit which connects individuals with and funds mental health resources and treatment. Now, after partnering with countless actors and artists, having their own film starring Chad Michael Murray and Kat Dennings, and even getting the attention of President Barack Obama, they’re celebrating their 15th birthday and continuing to remind people they are not alone.
“Depression doesn’t care if you’ve been in 15 movies or if you just started going to your first improv club class last week,” said Chad Moses, director of outreach for TWLOHA.
“Depression doesn’t care what your bank account looks like, the color of your skin, your family dynamics–these are equal opportunity issues for better or for worse; for worse because that’s a lot of people walking through a lot of pain, for better because that’s just more proof that you’re not in this alone.”
“Chad Moses, TWLOHA Director of Outreach” Credit: To Write Love on Her Arms
In addition to connecting people to resources, a large part of what TWLOHA does is share stories on their website, podcast and social media, of which they’ve received countless over the years narrating individual trials and triumphs from across the world. The common thread tying these stories together is the message that no one is experiencing their hardships alone.
“Stigma doesn’t get to have the last word, not as long as we’re still having brave conversations like this,” Moses said.
“We know that this is not just a physical health crisis, but this is an emotional, mental, behavioral health crisis as well. And we’re probably just seeing the tip of that iceberg,” he said. “So even when mask mandates start to fade away, even when events start opening up, we hope that we can hold this intention, this joy of seeing people and the weights of what we’ve lost, of what we had to sacrifice in order to get to where we are, and make sure that in the midst of all of it–the heavy parts, the lighter parts, the joyous parts and the empty parts–that you feel like your story is still something that deserves an audience.”
As the country passes one year of quarantine and TWLOHA celebrates fifteen years, the organization was inspired to bring to life an already existing idea they had in the works: The Hopeful.
The Hopeful is a new app which not only connects users to all of TWLOHA’s resources, including a search tool to find affordable mental health treatment in your area, but also offers new features like a mood tracker, journal and more.
“We talk so much about story; we talk about being a character in other people’s stories, of hearing others’ stories, being a good audience and sharing your story. This is a way to allow yourself to be aware of the story that you’re currently living,” Moses explained. “We go through so much of the day often unaware of the different things that cause us to feel different ways. This is an opportunity to pause, to relax for a bit, to let the world go around you and be aware of what it feels like to be you.”
Moses says he hopes the app can help people find time in their day to reflect and record their feelings, so they’re able to go back months and years later and realize how far they’ve come and all that they’ve learned. He says the name of the app itself also serves as an important daily reminder.
“For us being hopeful is being open to the possibility that change is around the corner,” he said. “Our founder Jamie has said it’s kind of this willingness to be surprised; hope can look like a number of things, but we hope that we can count you in the number of people that believe better things are still ahead.”
For someone who is struggling right now, Moses recommends checking out the resources available on TWLOHA’s website to find help, or even reaching out to them directly.
“I am here today because my attempts to push people away, my attempts to convince my friends I wasn’t worth loving, were utterly unconvincing to them; we are all loved in ways that don’t depend on our performance. So stay,” he said. “And if you need a listening ear, send us an at email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will read it. We will respond to you. We will answer questions to the best of our ability, and we will prove to you that you are not alone.”
Meagan Lynn is a host and writer at AfterBuzz TV, actress, and social media manager. Outside of AfterBuzz, you can find her hosting and producing Ten Minute Talks. She loves singing, listening to inspirational podcasts and consuming copious amounts of movies and television shows.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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