Be receptive, be honest, be decent.
As the sun rises and sets on another World Mental Health Day, we are feeling our way through with a response that is both visceral and logical.
Instinctively, our mind panders to the moments of emotional silence and commotion.
Intellectually, we need to talk about how we consider mental health in our peers. In the same breath, we need to talk about how the fashion industry shapes the minds of many.
Mental health is a disruption to most lives, interrupting the broadcast of our days with all the subtlety of a tsunami. It’s not simply a matter of putting on floats and hoping to swim - there is no choice in the matter, nor is there a simple solution. Acknowledging the complexity and convolution of individual and communal encounters with mental health is just one part of the battle.
The way we understand the phenomenon is a never-ending Cartesian plane, stretching into darkness at the end of each axis. There’s so much we don’t know, so much we don’t understand, and so much we need to advocate for.
When at the mercy of all pressures, whether internal or external, clarity is scarce. The world asks so much of us, and we ask even more of ourselves.
In simple times, we know that nobody would buy a ticket for a flat rollercoaster. We know that with ups come downs and vice versa. We can see the evanescence of each personal era and chapter, managing impermanence in a way that suits us.
That’s not to say that we all experience the same rollercoaster, nor does the track affect us in the same, equal way. This is why there is no one-size-fits-all approach to bolstering those around you, we are all different and all require different things to nurture our most instinctive traits.
The strength of others is contingent on their surrounding networks, creating feedback loops of either silence or support. As individuals, we might be just one web of change, but that’s a start.
Moving beyond a day of recognition, we are watching how we speak and hear about mental health. We live in a time where too many glance uncomfortably in the other direction at the mention of ailment, but we will not cower away nor induce silence on those around us.
Not only does this guide our social connection to each other, but it speaks to our ongoing mission towards a sustainable business and increasingly ethical industry. Lacking care for others is rife across the fashion world, as are unattainable standards, stereotypes, and that inward-facing silence or commotion. Neglecting supply chains and forcing the planet into overdrive is harmful to lives and incompatible with net positive mental health. We have changed, with this and so much more in mind.
Always: be open, be honest, be decent.