I have been advocating for and supporting my daughter, who is now eighteen, since puberty. Since she's a private person, I won't go into too much detail. She has been suffering with chronic headaches, nausea, acid reflux, insomnia, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and severe depression. Very severe depression.
During this journey, I have come to realize how many people do not understand mental illness. Even my own husband. Our family has been ripped apart by this. My hubbie and I have come close to separating many times.
There are so many other people who don't understand mental illness, who think that sadness and clinical depression, or nervousness and clinical anxiety, are the same things. Well-meaning people say things like, "Wake up each morning and choose to be happy." Or, "Focus on your blessings." I've even said things like that--before I came to understand.
I also think there are so many people who feel alone and misunderstood and who have given up on fighting their mental illness. They need to know about resources. They need to know to keep searching for the right meds or the right doc. In this modern day, there is no reason why anyone should be living a life of despair or debillitating anxiety. Sometimes mental illness is the root cause--a chemical imbalance. And sometimes it's something else, like a weak thyroid or a brain tumor. But for some reason, many people think of mental illness as a personal weakness rather than as an illness like high blood pressure or cancer.
So I'm launching a mental health awareness campaign in the book community. I'm organizing a booktube, podcast, and book blog tour, where people can share stories and recommendations. People can post blogs, podcasts, or videos about their own experiences, about books they feel deal with mental illness well, about resources, or about anything they feel is relevant to spreading mental health awareness in our community.
The tour doesn't start until September 1st and World Suicide Prevention Day is on Sept. 10th, but I want this to be big, so I'm getting started early. In addition to spreading awareness, I want to raise money for the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
Schedule: March-May: Authors, booktubers, podcaster, and bloggers sign up to participate in the tour and event.
April: Kickoff the first t-shirt fundraiser
May: Kickoff the second, bigger t-shirt fundraiser (Create a post or video inviting your followers/friends to join the Facebook Event and buy a shirt.)
June: Booktube, Podcast, and Blog Tours are finalized and announced; Promote t-shirt and event via social media.
Aug. 1-14: Create a second post letting your followers/friends know that the tour will launch on Sunday, September 1st.
Aug. 15-31: Remind followers/friends via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. that the tour begins Sept. 1st.
Sept. 1-9: THE TOUR (A list with links to each participating video, podcast, and blog will be sent to all participants to post in the video description/end of blog post).
Sept. 10: The Facebook Live Event 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. CDT/2:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. BST/11:00 p.m.- 11:00 a.m. AEST
The Facebook Live Event will include interviews with some of our favorite authors and booktubers from around the world with opportunities for readers to ask them questions.
Although I'll have more details in the coming weeks, if you are an author, book blogger, or booktuber, or any one who would like to particpate, you can sign up on this Google Form.
Let's unite as book lovers to help spread mental health awareness and prevent suicide. I really do believe that we can help to make the world a better place.
For more information about World Suicide Prevention Day and the International Association for Suicide Prevention, please visit their website here.