TWLOHA Board of Director President
TWLOHA Board of Director President
We are in complicated times. Years of pandemic swallowing lives and time and life as we knew it. Yet, we endure. We keep going. We are alive to the possibility of tomorrow being better. What is the vehicle that gets you there? What keeps people here?
At the core of it all, we believe hope does. And for so many, professional help makes room for hope to bloom into healing and recovery. Because of the support of people like you, we find many moments of light and hope shining through.
Thank you for making this work possible.
When the world shut down from COVID-19, we all felt the initial shock and fear of what the future would hold. In year two, we grieved our sense of normalcy and acknowledged the presence of a universal threat. These losses, in all their varying forms, became our collective trauma. The health risks of COVID-19 did not end as we strived to limit new cases and our communities were even less equipped to deal with the mental health impact.
We’ve learned from new data that the mental health challenges have grown quicker than any of us could have predicted, with 44% of U.S. high school students reporting they felt persistently sad or hopeless and 41% of U.S. adults sharing they’d felt symptoms of depression or anxiety compared to 36% in the summer of 2020. These realities are also significantly greater among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The desire for connection is at an all-time high and the belief in hope is needed now more than ever. Through it all, we’ve witnessed communities come together, and public figures step up and speak out. We’ve seen the rate of suicide decrease by 3%, supported and celebrated the expansion of resources into marginalized communities to better serve those in need, and experienced a decline in the stigma surrounding things like depression and anxiety. This is what keeps us moving forward: the honesty shared by folks, the invitation listen to and learn from others, and the growing belief that these conversations are both allowed and encouraged. That is growth. That is hope. And we will never stop pushing hope forward.
We invite you to explore our 2021 report to see how hope was shared and connections to life-saving help were made.
TWLOHA connected with more than 12.5 million people online each month (in 2021).
These connections help push back against the lie that says we can’t talk about mental health. They lift the weight of isolation and solidify the truth that we are not alone.
500,000 Blog Readers
13,624 The Hopeful App Downloads
63,650 Podcast Downloads and 5,400 Podcast Listeners
10,650 Video Viewers
53,000 Festival Booth Interactions over 53 days at 15 festivals
28,500 Students engaged in mental health conversations through Between the Bells
Supporters reached through merchandise sales across 50 states and 40 countries
3,600 counseling sessions + 109 weeks of care given to those facing substance use disorder
40,000 searches on the FIND HELP Tool
8,500 FIND HELP pamphlets distributed at music festivals and events
Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen the power a story has to change the direction of someone’s mental health journey. We’re dedicated to sharing stories of hope, healing, and recovery so that those in the midst of mental health challenges know they are in good company.
animated by Steve Nguyen
Days after TWLOHA celebrated our 15th birthday, we launched The Hopeful, a free daily-use self-care app. We created this resource as a way for folks to receive encouragements every day while also being able to track their mood and journal with a daily prompt. The Hopeful app allows you to reflect while discovering stories from our blog and podcast to support your mental health and remind you that you're not alone.
This #TheHopefulApp honestly couldn’t have come at a better time. Struggling alone doesn’t have to be the only way, and patterns are best identified when you record them. Thankful for @TWLOHA for releasing this powerful addition to the digital world.
I want to get better, and disciplining myself to record how I feel each day is a good first step. I’m struggling, but I’ll maintain my steps. @twloha #TheHopefulApp
Just downloaded #TheHopefulApp by @twloha. I’m excited for this because mental health matters and I want to continue taking care of mine.
700,000 people die by suicide each year. It claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. When we can talk about suicide—what causes it, how to support those dealing with suicidal thoughts, and ways to connect those struggling to resources—we can help people stay. The funds raised during this campaign made it possible to sponsor 3,600 counseling sessions and 109 weeks of treatment for those dealing with substance use disorder.
Learn more about the Another Day With You campaign.
Between the Bells is an interactive program designed to spark authentic conversations about mental health with high school students. Teachers and advisors get access to a week-long guide of unique activities and resources to lead the conversation with their students.
You’re doing great, keep going.
Be the best version of yourself that you can be today.
You are not alone.
We need you here.
“I chose Between the Bells because at the time I’d been teaching for 15 years and nobody was talking about mental health. There was maybe 2-3 pages in a textbook somewhere but it was that conversation that was buried in the background… If I were to talk to someone who is considering this program for their school I would want them to know that this is a program that could not only save a life but change many lives just by starting the conversation and by having it.”
— Christina Semey
Creating a chorus of hope
Music and live events have been a part of TWLOHA’s history since the very start. It was a concert stage in South Florida where the TWLOHA story first saw an audience. It was an open invitation to support someone's journey toward recovery. But the result was something much larger that has impacted millions of people: permission to talk honestly about their mental health. The return to live music in 2021 allowed us to re-enter spaces that aren’t traditionally home to these conversations and connect people to the existing resources.
15 festivals across the country
12 cities with Scary Kids Scaring Kids
53 days and 15 States
By showing up physically, countless folks find hope in a high-five, an embrace, or a quiet moment sitting with someone who truly cares. The funds raised and the over 5,000 people bringing TWLOHA merch home provide hope. The 8,500 mental health resource pamphlets handed out point to the possibility of people owning this story, sharing it with their friends and family, and creating a future where there are no shortages of opportunities to get the help both needed and deserved.
At Next Big Thing, we partnered with PixelStix to host an interactive art piece where we asked folks to share “What Hope Sounds Like,”, incorporating music and lyrics from songs that have helped them through their own mental health journeys.
The Run For It campaign is an invitation to move your body and explore the connection between physical and mental health. Each year, we rally people from all across the globe to challenge the lie that says we can’t talk about our mental health by carrying hope into and through their communities.
Connection. Community. Recovery. Healing. For those we’ve lost. For those still fighting.
Here at TWLOHA, we’re big fans of birthdays. We see it as a day to celebrate your existence. A day to celebrate how far you’ve come. A day to celebrate you being here, now. Donating your birthday to TWLOHA is a way for us to celebrate you and for you to support others in their efforts to celebrate another trip around the sun. When you raise $150, you support 24/7 access to honest stories and an online community of hope for 7,250 people.
5,000 folks donated their birthdays in 2021, here are some of their stories:
“There is so much worth living for and I’m glad I stuck around long enough to experience so many wonderful moments. It’s an honor to donate my birthday to y’all and I thank you again for giving me the hope to choose to stay alive.”
“I have been following TWLOHA for years, and they have always been an inspiration to me to keep going and to pass that light of hope to someone else. It’s an easy decision for me to dedicate a birthday when there are so many of us who can no longer celebrate one.”
“I chose TWLOHA to donate my birthday fundraiser to because I truly believe every story matters. I believe every person counts.”
People often ask how they can help. Each year, we have the privilege of working with our supporters to help create events or fundraisers that authentically share this message of hope and help in their communities and raise valuable funds. From streaming on Twitch to cycling across the country, here are a few of their stories:
“Mental health equals health, and we believe the most powerful way to care for it is by sharing it.” – The Nook Organizers (The Nook is a small but tight-knit team of streamers on Twitch known for creating an environment for people to feel included. They raised $50,123 during their Summer Charity Festival.)
Ryan’s cross-country rollerblade trip connected movement with mental health: “I had always found a sense of serenity in constant motion and change. I wanted to support TWLOHA on the trip because, over the past few years, I feel like I’m finally on the outside looking in. I know there are ways to push through, people who care, and the capability to achieve more than your body and mind can envision.”
Dirty Kitten Racing is a women’s off-road cycling team. They hosted a virtual Ride For It summer training challenge where they fundraised for TWLOHA, raised awareness for mental health, and encouraged their community to ride for something that matters.
Found in the stitches on the first TWLOHA T-shirt, “TWLOHA Blue” is the color that now serves as a reminder to stay true to our mission—knowing that lives are at stake. Our TWLOHA Blue Crew takes on that reminder as they give monthly to support TWLOHA’s life-saving work.
“I found out about TWLOHA at 14 when I saw Hayley Williams wearing a TWLOHA shirt. Newly diagnosed with depression and anxiety, PTSD, and anorexia, I found this movement when I needed it most. TWLOHA has helped give me a community that understands so I don’t feel alone.”
“I believe in the work that TWLOHA does and its power not only in the US but through the messages of hope and light they spread all across the world, too. If I can be a tiny part of helping that continue by being a TWLOHA Blue Member then that's what I'm always going to do.”
“Shining a light on the resources available and speaking out about my own struggles are important to me because it lessens the mental health stigma and helps more people to find the hope they need just by knowing where to turn.”
We love seeing how communities across the world create interactive ways to share mental health resources and connect people to this movement. Here are some of their stories:
Inspired by the idea of a “little free library,” the City of Sugar Land in Texas invited local artists to submit proposals for decorating small libraries they’d set up across town to share mental health resources and provide encouragement. Read the article.
We believe that every person deserves access to mental health care. For so many, however, the process is overwhelming and full of barriers—like not knowing how to find a counselor or being able to afford it. This is where TWLOHA shortens the gap between needing help and receiving it.
In 2021, TWLOHA supported 3,600 counseling sessions for 292 people and 109 weeks of substance use disorder care. 80% of those seeking scholarships were looking for support for depression and anxiety, but over 40% also indicated dealing with a wide range of issues including eating disorders, self-injury, trauma, and suicidal thoughts.
We also had the honor of providing grants to The Trevor Project and Trans Lifeline for direct crisis services within the LGBTQIA+ community. A continuing education grant was also provided to help train counselors at Sista Afya with the leading trauma treatment EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), that would allow their clinic to better serve Black women in Chicago, IL.
12 sessions on average per individual
3,600 counseling sessions
109 weeks of care
“Without the TWLOHA Scholarship, I truly believe I would not be here today. It saved my life.”
— Scholarship Recipient
In 2021, TWLOHA sponsored 42 people with scholarships for 12 weeks of virtual care through Meru Health. Working with a digital healthcare clinic was important in helping our scholarship applicants overcome the challenge of finding a counselor in their communities. The program helped the majority of recipients treat and reach remission for their experiences with anxiety, depression, and burnout.
Through our FIND HELP Tool, folks can find free and low-cost mental health resources available in their communities. We see an average of 115 searches a day, with one out of four people taking the next step to get connected to counseling or treatment. In 2021, we saw 40,458 searches from 16,463 unique users searching for a variety of resources including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction treatment, and more.
If we had to find a silver lining in the second year of the pandemic, it was seeing a wave of new voices rising to the call to meet people in their questions and pain, to point to the truth that help exists, and to hold on to hope when it feels hard to grasp. A portion of our team’s growth included the expansion of our Intern Program. We had 13 interns from eight states and three countries completing a paid internship. Our goal was to also ensure that the opportunity was equitable and accessible to a wider range of young professionals and students. This work was largely funded by the support of our amazing corporate partners.
“I’m walking away from this Intern Program with a renewed love of and drive for mental health promotion and a massive appreciation for everyone who is a part of TWLOHA. I'm leaving a little piece of my heart within this internship chapter.”
“I think my biggest accomplishment from this Intern Program has been how much more space I hold for empathy. Reading people’s stories every day has changed a lot of how I view the world and people, and I keep finding myself more inclined to listen and sit with people.”
We are so grateful to our corporate partners who recognized the urgent need for mental health conversations not only within our communities but within their workplaces. Here are some highlights:
For Discord’s 5th Annual Wintery Celebration, they selected TWLOHA as the charity partner. The event focused on community fun and connection to resources—and the 1.2 million Discord members raised $512,000!
2021 marked the second year of our partnership. Skullcandy donated a portion of sales from their Hesh® Evo headphones and Sesh® Evo earbuds and continued to share this message throughout the year.
Artist Morgan Harper Nichols selected TWLOHA as the recipient of proceeds from her artist collaboration with Athleta, raising $164,461.
See how your contributions helped share the message of hope and help.
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