This post was written in honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. If you are struggling with your mental health, please check out the resources at the end of this post.
One of our common interests in To Write Love on Her Arms, a nonprofit organization that’s “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The main way TWLOHA finances themselves is through the merchandise it sells. But the merchandise’s purpose goes beyond financial reasons:
Every piece of merchandise also has a much bigger purpose. It’s a conversation starter. It’s something that ties supporters together as a community. It spreads the TWLOHA message to someone who might not have found out about us otherwise. It shares hope.
Over the years, we’ve each accumulated our own collection of TWLOHA merchandise—most of which are T-shirts.
In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to highlight our favorite nonprofit organization and the items they produce—including most of the Black and White Collection that was created in honor of this month. We hope this post helps show our support not only for TWLOHA but for those who struggle with mental health as well as gives more visibility to mental health and the work TWLOHA does.
Black and White Collection – People Need Other People Shirt: As much as I love the sleek and simple design of this shirt, my favorite thing about it is the message. The phrase “People need other people” resonates strongly with me, and it’s something I’ve really embraced these past couple of years. Even if you don’t have a lot of people in your circle, it’s still important to have people in your life and form meaningful relationships with them. You’ll need them to help celebrate your greatest achievements, and you’ll need them to help work through your toughest times. Life is not meant to be experienced alone, and this shirt truly celebrates that.
Still Shirt: I have a lot of TWLOHA shirts and gear—so much so that TWLOHA shirts have their own pile in my closet. But the Still Shirt is, by far, my all-time favorite TWLOHA shirt and one of my favorite shirts in general. In fact, I love it so much that I have the Still Shirt in black and marble white.
The shirt reads, “LOVE IS STILL THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE ON THE PLANET,” and I don’t think I’ve ever agreed more with a statement. These past few years, the world has been filled with a lot of hate and negativity. Such things are always going to be there, but it has gotten to a point where we hear more about hate than we do love. So I love how TWLOHA made it a point to put an emphasis on love, because we all need more of that in our lives. And it never hurts to be reminded of how powerful love is.
Bonus fun fact: I actually introduced a friend from college to TWLOHA. He ended up buying the Still Shirt and wears it often.
Universal Shirt: This shirt really embodies what it means for an idea to be “universal,” as the design features the word “hope” in several languages.
It’s easy to spot differences amongst people, especially the larger the scale, but it’s absolutely true that “hope is universal.” It’s an idea we’ve all longed for, an emotion we’ve all felt. Hope isn’t exclusive to people of a certain culture or religion. Hope is inclusive to humanity, and it’s an important thing we all have in common.
Black and White Collection – You Are Not Your Pain Item: Honestly, what’s not to love about this shirt? The white italicized serif font looks so chic and sophisticated on the black tee, and the message is a great one. We all feel pain at one point or another. We all struggle. But we are never defined by that pain. We are all more than the pain that hurts us, and for those struggling with mental illness, it’s an especially important message to consider and remember. Because no one is defined by any illness they have or pain they experience. Our identities and lives are so much bigger than that.
Hold On Shirt: I absolutely love the back of this shirt. Yes, the front looks cool as well, but the back design is the star. It’s awesome that they could make it look like a neon sign, as light is often used as a metaphor for hope. The pink and green look great on the black, and I really like flowers and florals on clothes, so I adore the middle with the hand holding the rose. But the message is so vital. I firmly believe that we should “never ever let go of hope,” because hope keeps us all going. As long as we have hope, even if that’s all we have left, it’s enough to make us move forward and to not give up. Hope is such a precious thing, and I adore how the shirt embodies that through the text on the shirt and in the delicate flower pictured on the back.
Still Sleeveless Tank: Like Ashley, I also have the Still Shirt in marble white, but I actually like this version better (mainly because it’s a shade of pink, and TWLOHA hasn’t sold many shirts in my favorite color lately despite my telling Jamie himself that I want more pink TWLOHA shirts). Anyway, the main reason I am such a big fan of this top is because of the text. The message is plain and simple. “LOVE IS STILL THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE ON THE PLANET.” And it’s 100 percent true. Love overpowers all things. Love conquers all. And with all the negativity and hate that unfortunately still exists today, it’s important to remind people and let everyone know that love still is and forever will be more powerful than any other emotion or idea that tries to combat it.
Black and White Collection – Hope is Defiant Shirt: This design is simple and bold, but the message is paramount. Hope is something that has gotten me through the most difficult of times, and it is a word that really resonates with me. I truly believe hope is an immeasurable force that can carry us through almost anything, and without it, the human race couldn’t exist. To hope is to see possibility and light.
This shirt is more than just an article of clothing; it is an invitation to believe in a better future, and a reminder to always keep going.
Storm Rain Jacket: The charming simplicity of this rain jacket is my favorite thing about it. I love the dark color (I have the maroon one, but it also comes in black) with the white print and the incredible power behind the message. There is just so much meaning wrapped up in this one item, because every storm truly does pass; the rain will lighten up, the thunder will dissolve, and the world will be bright again. This jacket is a reminder of all of those things and can provide hope when the storm seems never ending. Aside from the significance behind it, the jacket is also super sturdy and comfortable. It has seen me through many downpours, and it is one of the most useful, meaningful things I own.
Icons Pullover Hoodie: This hoodie got me through the never-ending winter months in Illinois, and it my absolute favorite thing to wear. It’s cute, comfortable, and strong in its message. I love the meaning behind all of the icons: the lightbulb indicates that “hope shines brighter than fear,” the dove symbolizes worthiness and the possibility of new beginnings, the heart is representation of guidance—”our hearts are our songs”—and the VS means that dreams are more powerful than fear. This sweatshirt combines a multitude of valuable ideas, and I love that word “HOPE” reads boldly across the chest—a word that I’ve already identified as being essential to my journey.
- American Psychological Association
- Crisis Text Line
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- To Write Love on Her Arms
- Trevor Project (LGBTQ): 1-866-488-7386
Images via To Write Love on Her Arms.