Mental illness is no laughing matter. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 out of 5 people in the U.S.suffer from mental illness. Having anxiety, depression, or any other form of mental illness can make you think you aren’t amazing. Jenna Malley and her friends want to change that.
Did you know that 90% of individuals who have committed suicided have experienced mental illness (NAMI.org)? Jenna lost her best friend, Kennedy, in 2014 due to suicide. In her honor, Jenna, and her friends wanted to create t-shirts to help spread awareness and donate money to The American Suicide Foundation.
“We weren’t sure what we wanted to put on [the shirts], but then my friend texted me saying that she forgot how amazing she was.”
Due to this text, the AMAZING campaign was born. These shirts spell amazing backward, so when you look in the mirror, you can literally see that you are amazing. The shirts were made, and in the first 48 hours, over 200 shirts were sold.
“We wanted to do something special for our friend’s birthday and give us a distraction, but we weren’t expecting this. We originally were doing this just for her birthday, but when we closed the campaign, we kept getting messages asking where they could get these shirts.”
Jenna and her friends have continued to sell these shirts and have raised over $3,500! The shirts range from $15-$35, and every penny goes to The American Suicide Foundation.
These shirts have not only helped raise money for The American Suicide Foundation, but they have also helped many people that have a mental illness.
“We’ve gotten messages that said, ‘I didn’t have the courage to get out of bed and do XYZ today, but then I put on the shirt and was reminded that I could do it.’”
Not only do the shirts give people confidence and self-love, but they also help others understand and fight the stigma against mental illness.
“When I wear the shirt, at least one person comes up to me asking what it means. I then proceed to tell them about the campaign. It gives people the opportunity to talk about their mental illness — if they want to, and, if not, they can just say it’s for a selfie.”
Since their launch, Jenna and her friends have expanded into selling more than just shirts. They now have tote bags, mugs, and stickers. Their goals for the future are to one day have enough funding to have a website and a better platform.