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Mental Health Diaries: Elyse Fox

In this second piece of the HBFIT Mental Health Diaries series, we are so excited to introduce you to Elyse Fox, our latest girl crush and an inspiring mental health advocate. Elyse is a filmmaker and the Founder of Sad Girls Club Instagram Support Group for Girls with Depression.

Fox, 27, founded the online organization Sad Girls Club, an online and IRL mental health community created to help young women living with mental illness. Fox founded Sad Girls Club after she made a short documentary, Conversations with Friends, that vulnerably portrayed her own mental health struggles. Shortly after the release of her film, Fox received an abundance of emails from young girls around the world asking Fox to mentor them. It was then that Fox realized young women with mental illness were in need of a supportive, safe community. “For Sad Girls Club, I just really wanted to create a community around mental health.”

Though Fox created Sad Girls Club less than a year ago, the group’s Instagram account now has over 18,500 followers who receive daily motivational posts and mental health resources. “Learning about my mental health has been the best [coping skill]. If I feel like I’m the only one going through something, I studied up on depression and different types of mental health issues,” Fox says. Understanding the why and how of your mental illness(es) can be very empowering, as Sad Girls Club has learned all too well.

Instagram:
@elyse.fox
@SadGirlsClub

1. Elyse, Have you ever/ do you suffer from a mental health issue yourself? If so, what was/ is it?

Yes, I have depression and anxiety disorder.

2. As a woman how do you think we operate differently from men? How does that impact our mental health?

Women have have been fighting for years to be considered equal to men. We put on a happy face through tough times, we over apologize for the simplest things. We’re nervous to show our emotions in the workplace in fear of being labeled. As women, if we don’t take the necessary time to purge our feelings (in a safe space) it may lead to mental turmoil. From experience, bottling up my emotions and being “strong” has only disadvantaged my mental health and led to longer spouts of depression.

3. How do you practice self care?

Girllll, I feel like I should have ‘self care’ tatted on arm haha. I’m a self proclaimed self care guru. I love to unplug from the world sometimes for 5 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes/ day and explore ‘ME time.’ I’m big on journaling, self documenting, exploring NYC and meditating. At a Sad Girls Club meeting I learned a really cool self care method of journaling. Every night before bed I write 10 positive things that happened throughout the day. Choosing 10 positive things can be challenging but makes me appreciate the small beautiful moments I was able to witness.

4. How do you help others in terms of supporting them on their own journeys and relationships with mental health?

I like to help others by providing a place for them to vent, cry, yell and question their emotions. Sometimes a simple hug is all someone needs to be supported. I host free/donation based events in NYC every month for youth who suffer with mental woes. We create an in real life community and listen to one another. My goal is to remove the negative stigma that surrounds mental health conversations.

 

5. Advice for those who may be struggling with their own battles?

If you’re struggling and don’t know where to turn for help, reach out to someone you trust. Whether it’s your friend, teacher or neighbor starting the conversation is difficult but the reward may be exactly what you need to begin your self care journey. If you don’t have anyone near you search for resources in your area. Many therapists offer free consultations and can direct you to free/low cost therapy in your town. Excuse my shameless plug… follow @sadgirlsclubpbg! We offer tips, coping guides and information about a wide spectrum of mental illnesses and mental health facts. Join the community 🙂

Sad Girls Club Support Group Outing

 

6. Advice for those who may be struggling with their own battles?

If you’re struggling and don’t know where to turn for help, reach out to someone you trust. Whether it’s your friend, teacher or neighbor starting the conversation is difficult but the reward may be exactly what you need to begin your self care journey. If you don’t have anyone near you search for resources in your area. Many therapists offer free consultations and can direct you to free/low cost therapy in your town. Excuse my shameless plug… follow @sadgirlsclubpbg! We offer tips, coping guides and information about a wide spectrum of mental illnesses and mental health facts. Join the community 🙂