May is Mental Health Awareness month – and to me, mental health awareness means talking about and helping battle depression and suicide.
I’m so glad others are talking about it too.
You see, I’ve had many, many people that I love battle depression. I have experienced suicide in friends, neighbors, and friends of friends. And I want to let you know something – I’m not alone. With suicide being the TENTH leading cause of death, and 350 million people (5% of the world’s population) suffering from major depression, the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon dictates that we’ve all known someone that has battled this in your life. While we might have experienced this pain in another, I want to let you in on a secret:
Depression makes everyone feel so helpless.
The overwhelming emotion that I feel when I think about my loved ones that have battled this is that of helplessness. Because it’s just SO HARD to know what on earth to do, to say, to help. Through my experience, I’ve found that there are two things that seem to give a bit of help for us do-ers of the world.
- Let them know to take it one day at a time. Because we have to remind them (and, frankly, ourselves) that nothing is forever. For while we ALL from time to time get stuck in the absolutes, people battling depression often go into that dark hole of believing that it will ALWAYS be this way, that NOTHING will change, that it will hurt FOREVER. And those absolutes are terrifying. Not only that, but they’re complete lies. So – reminding them to guard against the absolutes is so powerful.
- Show up. Often the only thing you actually need to do is just be there. In fact, that is the crux of this week’s project – read on to find out how.
This week we paired up with Carol at Word Rocks Project to make a beautiful, fun, and kid-friendly craft to help people battling depression.
You got it. Kindness Rocks. These are beautiful, heartfelt rocks that you leave around for people to find – or that you give to a friend to hold onto during those darkest moments of depression when you can’t be there. Read on to get the tutorial, and keep reading to find out why this is so important.
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- Acrylic Paint
- Flat brush (this set is the best)
- 4b Pencil
- Black Permanent Marker fine point
- Glue (Mod Podge is the best)
- Heat tool (optional) [/one_half_last]
First thing: collect rocks. I find mine outside in nature but you can also find them at local home improvement stores, in the gardening section, or you can even purchase rocks online.
Clean your rock with soap and water to remove any dirt or wax that might keep the paint from adhering properly.
I decided to use two colors for the gradient of ombré effect. I chose blue and yellow. If you are unsure about the best choices of color combinations, I suggest taking a look at color wheel. According to color theory, harmonious color combinations use any two colors opposite each other on the color wheel or any three colors equally spaced around the color wheel forming a triangle.
Paint two vertical stripes, one for each color on the rock. Do not let the colors touch one another. Let dry. I use a heat tool to make the process faster, but it’s optional. Repeat.
For the third layer, mix a bit of the two colors and spread vertically the mixture to fill in the small gap between the colors. Let dry. Repeat many times you need to until you achieve the “look” that you like.
When you are done with colors, let the rock dry completely.
To write on the rock, first use a very soft pencil so you can erase if necessary. I like 4B pencils. Write it lightly, so it will not be hard to erase later.
Cover the words with permanent black marker. Erase any visible pencil line.
Let it dry. Give it a shiny finish with the acrylic lacquer. This will protect them from fading and smudging.
Print these project labels and stick them on the back of the rocks with Mod Podge or glue. The labels allow people to get to know the idea and hopefully pay it forward. This way the love chain will never be broken.
Congratulations!! You’ve made your beautiful and oh-so-helpful Kindness Rocks. This is a WONDERFUL project for small people as well – and a great way to broach the topic of depression with kiddos so they know more about it if they ever feel that way themselves. Thank you so, so much to the wonderful Carol at Word Rocks Project – Carol herself has battled depression (keep reading for more on that!), and so we are doubly grateful to her for her collaboration on this.
Now you just have one more step to do….
Now we need to sprinkle these around to the people that need them the most. Leave these rocks on benches, in parks, at grocery stores – or hand them to the loved ones in your life that are battling depression themselves.
YOUR ISSUE: Depression & Suicide
Now that you know what to do, let’s talk a bit about why this project is so important. Here are a few fast facts on depression and suicide:
Roughly 5% of the world’s population battles depression, with major depressive incidents being a large cause of suicide. Moreover, 10-15% of ALL mothers will develop postpartum depression, and on average 123 people take their lives every day. It is crazy to us that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, and that is costs SO MUCH – $69 billion – to just the United States every year. Depression can be treated, but it often takes a friend or community member to help support the person and convince them to seek help before it’s too late. In fact, reminders of that community and that love can be a huge help for people that need more to get through the day.
YOUR ORGANIZATION: Time to Change Campaign
Time to Change Campaign is an Aina-Accredited nonprofit organization located in the U.K. With incredible volunteer opportunities – you must see their slider here – and great leadership, this organization’s mission of ending mental health discrimination is right up our alley. We could not love more all of the ways to get involved with this amazing, Aina-Accredited Organization. Be sure to check them out and help their cause to help people that need it the most! You can find out all about the Time to Change Campaign at their very user-friendly website.
MEET YOUR MAKER: Carol at Word Rocks Project
A special thanks to Carol at Word Rocks Project – y’all, go over and check out her stuff and give her a follow (her Instagram Feed is one of our all-time favorites). She is amazingly talented and creative, and you should get to know her and her creations better! Read on for WHY she does all of the amazing she does:
Carol Areas started Word Rocks Project as a way to fight her own depression. Sharing #wordrocks was her way not to feel alone and also a way to let people know that they are not alone. She believes that when we connect with people in a positive way, we are making the world a better place for all of us. Carol is also Antonio’s mom, a Boston Terrier lover, a Beatlemaniac, a California dreamer and other fairy tales.
GET CONNECTED TO AINA
We love more friends! Not only do we want you as a part of the Aina Ohana, but we’d love for you to share your creations with us on Instagram! Follow us @ainagiving – and tag us with pics of your world-changing project!
Carmen Westbrook is the CEO and co-founder of Aina Giving, a female-led company that transforms women into world changers. Join the movement of DIY World Change and get our accredited projects, leadership coaching, and nonprofit consulting – email us and tell us how you want to change the world. We’ll help you get there.