Mental health has been a major issue lately, as insurance companies discuss coverage and plans for treatment, while at the same time movements such as To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) are starting to get recognition on a larger scale. As more attention is drawn to funding not only research, but also treatment for mental health issues, many people seem to question what is really being done to help those in need. With a battle for proper insurance coverage still causing problems for people with mental health needs, organizations such as TWLOHA are helping raise awareness for those who might be forgotten.
TWLOHA is a movement that started in 2006. It started with a story and real people trying to help out a friend. The founder of the TWLOHA movement, Jamie Tworkowski, wrote a story about one of his friend’s, who was dealing with addiction, depression and self-injury. The title, To Write Love on Her Arms, was written as a sort of goal to showcase that a better life could be achieved. The story was shared as a blog post and a page on MySpace was created. The page allowed the TWLOHA story to be shared and shirts to be sold in an effort to help fund the friend’s treatment.
The story grew as people read the TWLOHA post and shared their own stories, and discussed their own wish to be free from the shackles of their depression or self-injury attempts. The story also reached those who had lost loved ones to the struggles they dealt with every day. These people wanted to help.
From a single story and a page on social media, TWLOHA has grown into a mental health movement with a movie based on that original story. There have been tours, additional presence on social media and the support of musicians. TWLOHA now reaches an even larger audience as the movement now offers conferences, campus visits, various programs and events held around the world. Not only does TWLOHA speak out against the stigmas associated with mental health issues, but they also offer monetary support to those organizations and individuals who help support the healing process, as part of an investment into providing treatment and recovery.
As TWLOHA works to challenge the stereotypes and stigmas associated with mental health issues, they also share the truth and knowledge necessary to combat many of the negative labels. On their website, there are different sections such as ways to donate to the cause, where to look for help, how to offer help and also information on different areas of mental health. TWLOHA online offers a section that discusses the facts behind the many aspects of mental health and wellness. The site talks about depression, self-injury, addiction, anxiety, suicide and eating disorders.
TWLOHA has gotten more attention recently as Supernatural actor, Jared Padalecki, started his own shirt campaign on Represent to raise money for the mental health movement. The actor’s campaign is called Always Keep Fighting and was started on March 3, 2015. Since Padalecki’s campaign went live, there have been more than 21,000 shirts sold with proceeds from the sale going to TWLOHA and their efforts to help reach individuals who are struggling with mental health issues.
By Kimberley Spinney
To Write Love on Her Arms
Photo by Jessy Rone – Flickr License