Joe Biden spoke about how hope is the last thing to leave the body. Michelle Obama last year spoke of the country feeling the impact of what having no hope feels like, and maintained, Hope is Necessary. And Oprah and Deepak recently launched a meditation program called ‘Hope in Uncertain Times’, reinforcing the absolute necessity of maintaining Hope.
Suicide and depression among youth are growing at alarming rates, with 36% of girls in the US alone self-reporting depression prior to graduating high school and The Guardian reported 25% in UK are depressed before age 14. Suicide is now the leading cause of death for 15-19 year-old girls, even though depression and anxiety are treatable and suicide is preventable. A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests that 1 in 9 kids attempt suicide prior to graduating high school, 40% of whom are in grade school. Hopelessness is the primary predictor of suicide, and the number one symptom of depression, so we need to grow the opposite if we want to tackle this issue.
We launched the Global Hope Challenge as a way to spread hope, and collectively share and inspire individual strategies for hope with the world. We are asking organizations, advocates, and individuals to enter and share the contest by submitting a quick video to identify at least one thing they do to create a hopeful state on the HeroX campaign page and then sharing using the hashtags #OneThing & #Hope. The community then votes in January, with prize money of up to $1,000. Winners are to be announced and videos showcased at the Global Mental Health Movement’s meeting in South Africa on February 8, 2017.
In our research at iFred, and on our work with Hopeful Minds, two things we know are critical to creating and sustaining a hopeful mindset: having one thing a person can turn to when times are tough (i.e. music, meditation, nature, friends, exercise, faith, a pet, etc.), and identifying one safe person in their lives they can talk to when life gets hard. This Global Challenge addresses #1.
Research suggests hope is a teachable skill you can create and build, like a muscle, and the research on our initial study in Northern Ireland on our particular curriculum aimed at creating, maintaining, and sustaining Hope developed with experts in the area of Hope, is showing promise to reduce anxiety, and increase hope and emotional regulation skills in kids. Hope is not a ‘soft concept’, and it is critical so we stop treating it as such. We plan to use these videos to expand the conversation on Hope, and continue inspiring others to talk about mental health and the need to maintain hope even in the most trying of times.
The contest is open to all, though individuals under the age of 18 need parental permission. The hashtags represent the power of having one thing you can turn to since everyone needs at least one thing for hope to help deal with any situation life may bring. As we must not give up in the face of challenges.
The Mood Factory is sponsoring this challenge where the top three video submissions stand to win a total prize money of US $1,750 ($1,000, $500, $250). Voting then opens online, where all can vote on the messages, lifting up the ones they find most helpful and inspirational. Entries are allowed through December 31st, 2017, and voting occurs January 1-31st.
With powerful submissions highlighted from Jack.org’s young leaders and resource support from The Mood Factory, this campaign will set the path for a fruitful and open conversation on hopelessness, and how building hope and proper support we can help alleviate one of the most important mental health issues of our times.
The mission of International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) is to shine a positive light on depression and eliminate the stigma associated with the disease through prevention, research and education. Its goal is to ensure 100% of the 350 million people affected by depression seek and receive treatment. iFred has a curriculum available free online that teaches Hope to young kids, based on research that Hope is a teachable skill. Find out more at www.ifred.org.
About The Mood Factory
The Mood Factory’s mission is simple: to improve moods. The company does this by teaching people how to engage their senses to improve their well-being. They believe, getting in to the present moment is one of the fastest ways lead a happier, healthier and more engaged life. Find out more at www.themoodfactory.com.
Jack.org trains and empowers young leaders who are revolutionizing mental health in Canada. Through Jack Talks, Jack Chapters and Jack Summits, young leaders identify and break down barriers to positive mental health in their communities. Jack.org is working towards a Canada where young people are comfortable talking about mental health, and those that need support get the help they deserve. With a national network of 2,500 young leaders, they’re only just getting started. Find out more at www.jack.org.