The conversations around mental health have definitely evolved since the days when I was a teenager, and that is a joy to witness and experience. However, I know that we still have a long way to go. As such, it is always such a welcome sight and such a pleasure for me to meet people and discover businesses that are helping in this journey to end the stigma around mental health. One of these brands is the local advocacy business FAM Mnl, which started last August 2019.
FAM is composed of three clinical psychology graduate students – DJ, Jill, and Ralph – who were inspired to sell different items that aim to end the stigma around mental health. “Because we work in such close proximity with individuals who experience different mental health problems, we saw an increase of people who are struggling to deal with these types of issues,” they explain. This prompted them to think of ways that can help people feel more comfortable talking about mental health.
“More than that, we want to foster a sense of family and build a community wherein people are safe and comfortable about openly talking about their mental health,” they add. “A family treats each one of its members with kindness and respect, and that’s what our advocacy is about.” We love that!
FAM extends their help beyond selling their products, as well. They create content that educates people about mental health issues, host free mental health related webinars/talks/workshops for the youth, and support youth organizations, for example. They also donate 10% of their total profits to mental health organizations, such as the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH). How amazing is that?
FAM Mnl admits that it has been quite challenging to try to connect with others during the pandemic. This didn’t stop them, though. In their efforts to try and spread awareness about mental health during these trying times, they recently started a YouTube channel called ‘The FAM Space’, a safe space to freely talk about mental health. They have also collaborated with different local brands like sumati and balbo that have the same goal to promote physical and mental wellbeing.
All of FAM Mnl’s items are well thought out to spread awareness, as well as teach and promote wellness, self care, and mental health. They started with apparel because they thought it would be a great way to spark conversation in everyday life. This is why they released their semicolon collection inspired by Project Semicolon, which aims to end the stigma against suicide and depression.
The project’s ideology lies within the notion that “your story isn’ t over yet”. It basically aims to remind people that despite the struggles, hardships, and battles against suicide and depression, there is a silver lining. It is a reminder that there is life after the struggle, and that is what we should seek out. This project aims to shed light about the seriousness and importance of mental health awareness. Through this project, FAM Mnl believes that they can help spread awareness on suicide and take part in the mental health conversation.
Since then, they have also released other products that are very popular with the youth today, such as sticker sheets, notepads, eco-bags, and an Expressive Arts Journal. Their products address and shed light on other issues, as well, including body positivity, self care, and encouraging the use of expressive arts. They plan to make more items and release more collections in the coming months, too.
As you can see, FAM isn’t just about selling products. Their items have an underlying purpose to raise awareness about mental health. Their products also come with a tag that has the working suicide hotlines in the Philippines, as well as explanations of the importance of their designs. As someone who struggles with mental health herself, this means the world to me. Their products make me feel like I am not alone and that someone understands me. They also help me open conversations about mental health, which is always a beautiful thing.
FAM Mnl delivers all around the Metro. They accept orders through their social media accounts, and deliver via Grab or Lalamove. They have also recently started to sell in Lazada, which has been especially helpful during the pandemic.
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