live / 2020
Find Your Anchor
At the heart of Find Your Anchor’s mission is a small blue box. Once referred to as a “mental health first aid kit,” each box is packed with good vibes and materials designed to inspire, soothe, and offer support. This includes a “52+ Reasons to Live” deck of cards, an infographic on depression, a list of resources, posters, stickers, a bracelet, and a letter. The boxes are intended to be organic in the sense that each person can add their own anchors and inspiration to the box before passing it along. We want more FYA boxes throughout LA.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
What is the need you’re responding to?
We are experiencing an epidemic of hopelessness. In 2018, we lost 48,344 people to suicide. There were a staggering 1.4 million attempts. There’s a gap in how our society is addressing this. We know there’s a problem - it’s easy to regurgitate statistics like I did above. We know the who, what, when, where…but there’s no solution. What do we do with this information?
We fight the hopelessness in a tangible way. And we do that by reminding individuals that they are not alone. That there are strangers all over the world who care.
Find Your Anchor (FYA) aims to inspire hope and support people who may be struggling in an engaging and creative way to destigmatize suicide and mental health. We bring people together all with the help of our little blue boxes.
I don’t know how to make it go away, but I know these boxes help. All by themselves, they’re quite small. But they open up to reveal something huge, and perhaps the only thing with the power to make a real difference: humanity.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
Suicide awareness has long been a cause very near and dear to me. I survived multiple attempts.
I created Find Your Anchor (FYA) in direct response to every other mental health organization being so sterile, corporate, and cold. In my darkest moments, I didn’t want a white hospital brochure with a number to call. I wanted - needed - to know someone cared. Find Your Anchor is created by someone who gets it. By someone who has been there. By someone who cares.
Find Your Anchor doesn’t assume to be the anchor, or have all the answers, rather, it sets out to create a community of anchors.
The physical form of FYA is a small blue box packed with various materials designed to inspire, soothe, and offer support. These boxes are then launched in public places (libraries, coffeeshops, the Vegas strip, etc.) to be found by those in need; specifically those close to suicide in one way or another.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
With this proposal, 6,750 citizens of LA would receive FYA boxes - many at the lowest point in their lives. These box recipients cross all demographics, social classes, and age groups.
For those contemplating suicide, there is an overwhelming sense of loneliness and despair. I wanted something specifically for them. I wanted those in need to open the box and think “someone cared enough to make this for me.” I wanted to provide, or spark, within them a reason to fight.
But the spark doesn’t stop there.
The impact of FYA goes beyond those directly receiving the box. Since these boxes are designed to be passed along, the reach of these boxes is exponentially greater than the 6750 people who will initially receive them.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
These testimonials are the definition of our success.
I can give you a whole bunch of data, but these testimonials say it all for me:
“Find Your Anchor really stands out in its extremely personal connections it creates and its strong network of individuals who know that depression doesn’t have to be fought alone.” (Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation)
“I just wanted to let you know that I received one of your boxes from a dear friend of mine a few weeks ago. I thought about killing myself that day and when I got the box, I completely second guessed it. I’m now seeking help and getting the help I need. Thank you so much.”
“Yesterday, I opened my mailbox and found a package in there from you. From the deep, depths of my heart, I thank you. You’ve saved a life.”
“I lost my oldest son to mental illness that resulted in suicide. Thank you for this tangible way to spread the message about suicide and preventing others from going through what our family has.” (Mother)
“As I discovered this box today, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort in knowing that someone cares, even if it may be a stranger that cares. Finding this box has touched my heart. If I could thank you an infinite amount of times I would.”
“This is a great addition to my therapy groups. I work primarily with female survivors of military sexual trauma and see huge benefits in passing the box among the group.” (Social Worker)
“I just wanted to let you know that you saved a life today.” (Student)
Throughout this project we will continue to measure success in the form of firsthand accounts of box recipients. However, we will also measure success by the number of school partnerships we create, recurring box subscriptions we receive, and workshops we give.
Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?
- Mental illness
- Access to mental health services
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Strategy assistance and implementation
- Box building events