112+ Million Acts of Kindness and Counting…

September 21, 2020

Cynthia Germanotta is president and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation (BTWF), created with her daughter Lady Gaga. Born This Way Foundation supports the mental health and wellness of young people, empowering them to build a kinder, braver world. Cynthia is also a World Health Organization (WHO) Ambassador for Mental Health.

This story took place in United States

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When we set out to plan this year’s #BeKind21, we knew that our campaign would need to take on an even deeper meaning in the midst of multiple global crises. What we didn’t know was just how fiercely each of you would show up, turning kindness into action during these 21 days.

You’ve shown up by encouraging everyone to #KindlyMask, register to vote, and advocate for a world where all are loved, included, and respected. You’ve found creative ways to stay connected while maintaining physical distance. You’ve bravely shared your stories, practiced self-care, and prioritized your mental health while encouraging others to do the same. You’re keeping kindness at the forefront of everything you do in these continuing uncertain times, and I’m honored to be doing this work alongside you.

I was blown away when Taylor shared the final report from this year’s campaign during our weekly team meeting. With the help of over 200 partners and community members like you, we’ve recruited over 112 million pledged acts of kindness. From our partners at Life is Good offering journaling exercises to help us see the good in ourselves, each other, and the world to our friends at the Ally Coalition reminding us of the importance of filling out the census – I’ve been so inspired by the many ways kindness has taken shape in your communities.

While those numbers are incredible, another statistic has been at the top of my mind. Last month, the CDC released a study showing one-in-four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 say they’ve considered suicide in the previous month. Additionally, according to a recent survey we commissioned with our #BeKind21 partners at Chegg, over half of all high school students reported experiencing anxiety, one third reported experiencing depression, and almost a quarter said they knew of someone with suicidal thoughts since the beginning of the pandemic.

With September marking Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, 81% of young people say it’s important now more than ever to make suicide prevention a national priority. Though the numbers make this epidemic within the pandemic feel overwhelming, the smallest act of kindness and connection can change someone’s life. Your kindness is urgently needed. By joining this movement, you are helping to turn this statistic around, and with your help, 112 million acts of kindness could mean 112 million lives changed.

As we wrap our #BeKind21 campaign, I’m hoping you feel the power your own kindness has to change the world. I hope you are even more connected to your communities and are aware of the resources you can use to support the mental health of yourself and others. Most importantly, I hope you understand how essential you are, to me and to our world. The main focus of my #BeKind21 list this year was to remind everyone in my life, including my daughters, my extended family and friends, and people I encounter in my community that they are essential. They matter, they are loved, and I’m grateful they’re here with us. I’m grateful that you, my friend, are here with us.

I also want to kindly remind you that you are not alone and that support is available. Please click here to visit our website to find resources for mental health support and evidence-based self-care tips.

As my daughter says, “Kindness heals the world.” Thank you for incorporating kindness into your daily life for these 21 days, and I encourage you to pay it forward by sharing our mission with your loved ones and inviting them to join our community at bornthisway.foundation.

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