Hey! Just a quick heads up that we're going to be talking about heavy topics including mental health and suicide. It will be a general conversation, mostly talking about resources! There is nothing specific about suicide, but the topic is discussed. It's okay if this is too much. Go ahead and close out tab, hit the back button, or go to our homepage. Either way, I hope you give yourself grace, patience, and love in all that you do today. I am also not perfect, so I'm going to try my best to approach this topic as carefully and as gracefully as I can. I love you!

The Indianapolis Coffee Guide recently teamed up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Indiana Chapter to help them provide free coffee cup sleeves to 17 local coffee shops to use in May for Mental Health Awareness Month. (List below!)

Mental health is massively important, and I am so grateful to have been asked to play a small part in this coffee sleeve project.

AFSP’s mission is to save lives and to bring hope to those affected by suicide. They are a volunteer-run organization with chapters in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. The AFSP provides life-saving resources to those struggling with the idea of suicide AND for folks who see their friends and family struggling with their mental health. Their resources help us all understand the part we play in our community’s health and how to have hard conversations.

The work done by AFSP—and all mental health organizations—is monumentally important because mental health is something that impacts every single person on the planet.

The AFSP chapter in Indy reached out to see if we could help connect them to local coffee shops in Indianapolis that would be interested in receiving free coffee cup sleeves to use in May. The beautiful sleeves were provided by AFSP to the cafés for free and included two incredible designs that featured great mental health resources, like the 988 number and information about the work AFSP does.

The Coffee Shops

The following coffee shops were part of the AFSP coffee sleeve project in May. Click their names to check out their Instagram profiles.

Why mental health is important to me

Well, the answer to why mental health is important is pretty obvious. But why is it important to talk about it? Because we don’t talk about it enough. We’ve come a long way in discussing mental health, but we’re still not nearly where we need to be.

I have personally been striving to talk about mental health more since I had my first real panic attack in 2011 that landed me in an emergency room in Manhattan (long story).

I grew up in a really small town in Tennessee at a time when there was really no diversity around me. There were no openly queer people, and anyone different was constantly reminded that they were an outsider.

Growing up as a queer kid in that environment was hard. It was worse than hard, it was miserable. I spent every waking moment of my life being uncomfortable. My childhood and adolescence were overshadowed by a dark cloud of shame and fear that consumed me. Every single day, I wanted to give up so badly because I couldn’t see a way out.

We didn’t talk about mental health back then. We didn’t share our struggles. We didn’t have resources for these conversations. It left me completely lost and helpless.

Thankfully, I eventually found my people, came out, and accepted my own queerness which all allowed me to step out from underneath that shadow. Though I was able to survive, it left a lasting impact on me.

Mental health is impacted by a lot more than just trauma. Anxiety, depression, ADHD, and so many other naturally occurring things in our bodies impact our mental health.

Many of my closest family members and friends also struggle with their mental health in ways that are different than my own. The more we learn and the more we talk about these things, the easier it becomes for all of us because we are absolutely never alone.

Mental health is something each and everyone one of us experiences, which is just another reason why it is important to be prepared to have conversations about it and where to find the right resources.

AFSP Resources

AFSP is an important organization that provides important resources from many perspectives: whether you are struggling yourself or if you are worried about someone else.

Risk factors, protective factors, and warning signs of suicide

How to advocate for suicide prevention

Many more great resources

Follow @afspindiana and @afspnational

There is always something more to learn about how to take care of ourselves and those around us, and if you have the space, I hope you can spend some time reading through their resources.

Out of the Darkness Community Walk

One of the big events AFSP hosts every year is the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, and Indiana’s is one of their biggest! This September 9 is their annual walk at Military Park, and I hope to see you there!

Out of the Darkness Walk Information

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone at AFSP and our friend Brandon, who is the Programs Manager for Indiana.

Thanks to our friends at Tactive for helping bring these sleeves to life.

Thanks to all of the local coffee shops who partnered with AFSP in May.

And thanks to all of you for following along and posting your photos throughout the month of May.

Be on the lookout for another round of coffee sleeves in the coming months!