According to the CDC:
- Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States.
- There were more than twice as many suicides (44,965) in the United States as there were homicides (19,362).
- Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.
- Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 45,000 people.
According to the VA:
- Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults.
- In 2014, there was an average of 20 Veteran deaths from suicide each day. That number has risen to 22 Veterans as of 2018.
My passion and my mission is to promote mental health awareness, bust negative stigma, suicide prevention and to educate the masses about issues associated with mental health struggles.
When my friend, Renee, of 20+ years lost her mother, Carole, it was quite a devastation to the entire family. But even though my dear friend was grieving horribly, her first thoughts were for the well-being of others. Renee knew that I was having a difficult time myself. So, she said to me one day when I was feeling particularly grief-stricken, “You know you have a coffee date with mom in the morning. Don’t you?” In other words, I needed to promise her that I would not harm myself (as my illness has caused me to do so on several occasions previously), but that I would DEFINITELY make it to the morning so that I could have coffee with her mother (who LOVED coffee). This simple, loving gesture saved my life on many, many occasions. Fast forward several months and my dear friend was in a down-ward spiral of ever-worsening depression, mourning the loss of her parents. So, I had the thought to make her a gift that would lift her spirits. I asked her about her favorite colors and hand-painted a custom coffee mug emblazoned with one of my favorite inspirational quotes. On the card I wrote, “Now YOU are having coffee with me and your mom in the morning.”, to let her know how much she was loved, cared for and thought about. And so we began texting each other pictures of ourselves (complete with raging bed-head) with our coffee mugs as a way to bring a smile to one another. It was at that moment that “One Small Positive Thought” coffee mugs was born. I’ve since made the mugs for my friends and family as a way to spread my simple message of the power of positive thought. I was also able to donate 10 mugs to Creative Expressions (the art therapy program at Arkansas State Hospital). These mugs were sold at their annual fund raising event (September 2018) held at the Arkansas State Hospital through the efforts of the Arkansas State Hospital Auxiliary.
I then applied for and did receive a grant for $1,000.00 from University of Arkansas at Little Rock Signature Experience Awards initiative. I’ve decided to create “Project Change Your Days” to promote my “One Small Positive Thought” coffee mugs in an effort to raise awareness for issues connected to mental health, specifically suicide prevention and busting negative stigma. So, I create each unique coffee mug and donate them to organizations that I feel help promote this cause.
Now, because of the Signature Experience Award I’ll be able to donate 25 mugs to the University of UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute staff as a special “thank you” for what they’ve done for me, personally,(as well as so many others!) …and as a way to keep the message going.
I've also recently donated mugs to my Social Welfare Policy Class as UALR School of Social Work (class of 2020) as a way to inspire them to choose a current social issue that speaks to them and to FIND THEIR PASSION as future social justice warriors!!
I still have some of the grant money remaining and haven’t yet decided where to donate next. But wherever I focus my artistic efforts, it will be to continue my simple mission of giving comfort and laughter, educating the masses about issues related to mental health, busting negative stigma and hopefully saving lives one smile, one small positive thought, one day at a time.
Won’t you please consider helping out with a donation so that I can keep Project ChangeYourDays.org going? Share a smile. Save a life.
If you know of someone who could use a little sunshine in their lives please email me with the specifics and I'll gladly paint the mug(s). I only ask the cost of painting the mug and shipping/packaging be covered.
If you would like to donate to Project ChangeYourDays and know of any organization that you'd like to gift my mugs to, please shoot me an email!
If you would like to straight up make a donation so that I can keep Project ChangeYourDays going, I would greatly appreciate it. Please send me an email!
My name is Emilia and I'm an undergraduate honors student at UALR in the School of Social Work. Mental health awareness and suicide prevention are two issues that are near and dear to my heart. In fact, I believe in the power of art therapy so much that I've been putting my money where my mouth is. I've created Project "ChangeYourDays" to put what I know in my heart to be effective out into the world ...and am studying to become an art therapist.
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"One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day!"