BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THE MENTAL HEALTH COALITION

The Icon Award for Social Impact

NOBODY HAD 20/20 VISION, UNTIL 2020 – THE YEAR WE ALL FINALLY OPENED OUR EYES.

At the start of 2020, in the course of just a few months, the world became a pandemic blur, making it hard to see what the future held. Then, over just a few traumatic, eye-opening days, the path ahead became more clear.

I have spent the last week reflecting on the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd and my heart goes out to his family and friends. I have read many statements and heard from many of our great leaders from our communities of color. I have listened and tried to process the events to find a way to embrace this moment of rage, passion, and resolve to sustain the momentum in the hope we can institutionalize the crucial need for lasting and meaningful change.

For over 35 years, my Company and I have stood for equality, diversity, inclusion, and when possible, sought to raise awareness for social justice. That being said, I cannot even pretend to know what it’s like to experience systemic racism firsthand. What I can do, however, is use my platform to support those who do.

Recently, I launched The Mental Health Coalition – a potentially life-changing movement to destigmatize all mental health conditions and support the emotional well-being in all communities. We know the effect of racism and racial trauma is very destructive, and the Coalition will do everything we can to provide resources, guidance, treatment, education, and inspiration to everyone in need.

We also hope to keep the conversation alive by enabling people to share stories firsthand. We need to amplify the voices of those who have struggled too long to be heard. Stories can empower, humanize, and dignify the marginalized, so we want to encourage you to share your truth at HowAreYouReally.org and inspire many others to do the same. I do believe this is a defining moment in time, and when we look back, we will appreciate all that went into creating a new, shared 2020 vision of systemic justice, equality, and humanity for all.

Yours in solidarity to build a better future,

Kenneth Cole Signature
#BlackLivesMatter
#TheMentalHealthCoalition

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1 in 4 Americans
1 in 4 Americans



The Icon Award for Social Impact

WHY I STARTED THE MENTAL HEALTH COALITION
—Kenneth Cole

This initiative is very personal to me. I’ve seen, first hand, how mental illness can be so debilitating to many who I know and love, and how it can force those affected into the shadows. I have always been aware of the existence of mental health conditions and the degree to which it affects everyone, but recently it has been even more compounded by the pandemic.

Even before Covid-19, mental illness was and is one of the most prevalent public health crises, affecting hundreds of millions of people globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 4 people globally will be affected by a mental disorder at some point in their lives. However, that means 4 in 4 people are significantly impacted, if not directly themselves, but by the fact it’s happening to someone they know.

Silence is worsening this global crisis. People are afraid to speak up, fearing they will be judged and persecuted. That’s why there is a pressing need to destigmatize this public health threat, which starts with changing our cultural narrative, and creating a safe and supportive community.

This is a unique moment in time where together, and only together, we can create pervasive change. Starting with the vocabulary, we will shift the narrative to shift people’s preconceived perspectives. That is what The Mental Health Coalition was founded to do.

We have begun by shining a light on all of the great work, support services, dedicated organizations, and extraordinary individuals that already exist, so we can embrace everything we have in common, and everything we don’t.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COALITION RIGHT HERE


The Icon Award for Social Impact

HOW ARE YOU, REALLY?

“How are you?” is one of the most asked questions, but is the least answered honestly. That’s why The Mental Health Coalition wants to know “How are you, REALLY?” Your honest answer could be life-changing for you and countless others. Go to HowAreYouReally.org, share how you really feel, and you’ll be part of an historic movement taking a huge step towards destigmatizing all mental health conditions.

SHARE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH STORY