Words like “depression” and “anxiety” carry a lot of weight – much of which comes from stigma around mental illness. To combat this stigma, ban.do creator and chief creative officer Jen Gotch created necklaces in collaboration with Iconery that read “Depression” and “Anxiety.”
Gotch, who has struggled with her own mental health, has expressed her hope that the collaboration will help start a conversation about mental illness. “One thing we can all do is work to remove the stigmas associated with mental illness,” Gotch writes in the product’s online description. “These necklaces are a step in doing that and I hope they can also serve as a conversation starter for people to be more open about what’s going on in their minds.”
The Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand is popular among women, who make up a significant portion of those facing depression and anxiety. Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression as men, with one in eight women developing clinical depression throughout their lifetime. Women are also twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder, with an annual prevalence of almost 24 percent of U.S. women.
Women are choosing to embrace their mental illness with these necklaces, including actress Busy Philipps. “I’m proud to wear my anxiety around my neck for everyone to see,” Philipps said in an Instagram post showcasing the necklace. “I work very hard daily to push through it and not let it get the best of me. Some days it does, some days it doesn’t. But really, truly, I know now even when I’m in it, I’m not alone.”
My beautiful friend @jengotch made @shopbando necklaces with @theiconery. One says Anxiety and one says Depression. The proceeds from the necklaces are going to @bringchangetomind, a non-profit whose goal is to destigmatize mental illness. I used to feel so isolated & alone about my anxiety- especially after Birdie was born. But finally I started talking about it and I decided to be open on social media & my @nodocspodcast about my struggles. Talking about these things helps. At least I know it’s helped me. And if it helps someone else to hear it in that moment, that’s great, too. I’m proud to wear my anxiety around my neck for everyone to see. I work very hard daily to push through it and not let it get the best of me. Some days it does, some days it doesn’t. But really, truly, I know now even when I’m in it, I’m not alone. 💜
Both necklaces, which launched March 1, have already sold out. All proceeds from these necklaces go to Bring Change to Mind, a non-profit organization that aims to end mental illness discrimination and stigma.
“It’s so important for us to open up a dialogue about how we are feeling,” Gotch writes, “and get to a place where we are comfortable asking for and receiving help.”