Throughout the spring and summer of 2020, Kartika joined the To Write Love on Her Arms team as an intern. Being from India, Kartika has a passion for global mental health advocacy and she channeled her energy into building and expanding our FIND HELP database on both a national and international level. In honor of World Mental Health Day (October 10), we asked her to share her experience and why this work matters so much to her. Here’s what she had to say:
My story met To Write Love on Her Arms’ long before I had the opportunity to be an intern with the organization, bringing the message of hope and help to the world. I had the privilege of sharing space with an incredible group of people, people who wake up every day and bring their hearts to a mission they deeply care about—the mission of hope and help. As an international intern and TWLOHA’s first intern from India, I was excited about the contribution I would be able to make to their story. When I was assigned to be a FIND HELP intern, my role called on me to look back at my own experience of mental health awareness, and access to resources in an international space, and to use that information to make a contribution to the existing dialogue.
The FIND HELP Tool is an integral part of the mission at TWLOHA. It connects people with affordable mental health resources, making mental health support accessible to each person who needs it. We truly believe that every person deserves the help they need, and this tool brings us closer to a world where this is a reality. My major project as an intern within TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Department was to work on updating and expanding international resources listed on the main website. As an international intern myself, I came to the organization with an understanding of what this interaction looks like from the outside: A call to a helpline listed on a website you trust because you feel seen by a movement, even if that movement is a thousand miles away from your home—it can still mean so much.
When I first browsed the international resource list on TWLOHA’s website from India, I couldn’t help but wonder about the information I could share with them. This knowledge that I was able to bring to the organization was informed by my own interaction with resources here in India, and I couldn’t imagine what that could mean to someone who would try to reach out for help from here at home, and who would ultimately find access to resources that are responsive, resources that could offer a safe space to them. I came to this project with that passion in my heart, hoping to bring so many of the world’s voices to spaces that would see them, spaces that would hear them, and those that would honor their stories. The simple thought that the work I was doing could make that happen was so humbling. It kept me driven and pressing forward. All the calls made to international mental health helplines, reaching out to international interns within the organization, and the hours spent on research have led to the creation of a space that I know in my heart will bring hope to more people every day.
To Write Love on Her Arms might have started in a small space, with one story, but the hope they share with this world is so much larger than that today, and I cannot be more grateful for having been a small part of spreading and cultivating that hope. It was my little effort to give back to an organization that spoke of hope when I needed it the most, and I wish that when you look to TWLOHA for hope, you find the support you need, you find a voice on the other end that hears you, a voice that sees you, one that’s there to hold hope for you. You deserve that. We all do.
We are always working to grow our database. If there is an international resource that you would like to see added, please submit your recommendation by completing this survey.