Our First TV Ad Is Calling For a Mental Health Reckoning
How often have you said the words or felt the feeling: “I don’t belong here.”
What starts on the playground with a kid who rejects you can evolve into an education system that overlooks you, a workplace that undervalues you, or a doctor that doesn’t take you seriously.
Before you know it, it’s everywhere: The constant messaging that weaves throughout your television screen, grocery store, workplace, and government saying: “You’re not one of us.”
Today, we’re nearing the first World Mental Health Day since we entered a global pandemic and a new fight against racial injustice. Many countries are just now starting to have a real dialogue about what it means to belong.
And we believe that it’s time for that reckoning to reach mental health.
Although 2020 may seem like an outlier, we are merely just beginning to confront social equities that have existed for hundreds of years—leaving often unrecognized stress, anxiety, depression, and exhaustion in its wake.
It’s time for us to prioritize the wellbeing of those who are underserved, underrepresented, and overlooked, and acknowledge the unique stressors we all face.
It’s time that we all have a space to care for ourselves.
The two of us are sharing this story today because it is our lived experience.
As a Black woman and an Asian woman, we realized years ago that we struggled with the same problem: Feeling like there wasn’t a place for us and our struggles.
Eight years ago, we were lucky enough to meet as co-workers in New York City.
On sunny days at the office, we’d find ourselves escaping to a stoop around the corner. And on that stoop: We would share our feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, insecurity—all emotions that were impacted by identifying as women of color, among other things.
On an almost daily basis, we’d find a way to create space to build one another up and to be a sounding board for difficult moments.
But we’d also lament over how images of success and wellness almost always portrayed a one-dimensional, homogenous persona. It didn’t feel like anyone was speaking about what it looked like to live “well” with our life experiences, skin tones, body types, financial access—or even our personalities.
It’s ultimately what led us to start Shine in 2016. It was our way of creating a space where we all belonged and a place we all could talk about our unique struggles freely.
Today, Shine is the #1 self-care app, created by us for everyone. And it’s more than a diverse team of people working to make mental and emotional wellbeing more inclusive and accessible.
We are a thriving community of millions of members, over-representing Black, Latinx, LGBTQIA+ experiences, and more.
Most importantly, we are a movement of people who are tired of being overlooked.
Like so many, 2020 has often left us feeling frustrated and disappointed.
Our team and community have heard “you don’t belong" reverberating across a pandemic that is disproportionately taking the lives of BIPOC and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. In the United States, we’ve felt it with a government that continues to deprioritize Black lives, women’s rights, and LGBTQIA+ rights at a time when it is more crucial than ever to prioritize and uplift the marginalized.
But, like activists around the world today—and the Black activists fifty years ago that created the original movement for self-care—we have found strength in community.
We know that there are millions of people who are struggling with the same things we all are right now—grief, anxiety, depression, racial battle fatigue, and more.
We know that we no longer have to feel alone.
That’s why, as we enter these final months of 2020, we believe this is a crucial time for more people to know that a space like Shine and inclusive mental health support exists.
Today, we are so honored to share our first-ever national TV campaign: The Reckoning.
It was created in partnership with a diverse and extraordinarily talented team of creators and an incredible cast of real Shine members and teachers.
The Reckoning, the team behind it, and the people represented in it all bring to life one very important message: We, the overlooked, will no longer continue to be so. We all deserve a seat at the table. We all deserve to live freely. And we all deserve to prioritize our mental health.
We hope you will join us in the movement for a more inclusive world, where everyone belongs and can talk about their mental health struggles freely— and we hope you watch and share this project that has been a true labor of love.
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