Supernatural Stars Blow Mental Health Stigma Out Of The Water

Supernatural Stars Blow Mental Health Stigma Out Of The Water

This fan-favorite show made headlines when its star got real about mental health.
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You may or may not know it, but October 10th was World Mental Health Day. It's a day dedicated to raising awareness and understanding all things relating to, you guessed it, mental health. For many, it's just a social media holiday. You re-tweet something heartfelt and you feel like you contributed. But for those with mental illnesses, World Mental Health Day is every day. It's with you always, not just when society acknowledges it. And it can affect anyone. Seriously. Anyone.

Plenty of actors have been candid about their mental health experiences, including "Supernatural" star Jared Padalecki. "Supernatural" is a paranormal drama about two brothers and their relentless fight against all that goes bump in the night, starring Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Over 13 seasons, the show has developed a cult following.

In March 2015, Padalecki started a movement. What started as a t-shirt campaign to benefit mental health charities soon swelled into something bigger.

Image Credit: Jared Padalecki

What is this movement, you ask?

Always Keep Fighting.

And what does this mean, exactly?

That no matter what comes your way- you make a choice to carry on. Your life is worth living. And you are worth fighting for.

In a 2015 interview with People magazine, Padalecki said, "People who are dealing with depression and addiction or suicidal thoughts or mental illness...they’re strong. You’re strong because you’ve been in this fight and you wake up thinking you’re going to beat it again today."

The campaign raised $250,000 and went viral. Fans began purchasing shirts for those who could not afford it. Even those without a shirt began using #AlwaysKeepFighting to share their own struggles. This was one of the most notable instances of fans carrying on the charitable efforts of the cast.

Image Credit: Jared Padalecki

Six campaigns followed and thousands of shirts were sold, establishing The Pack Fund. This donor-advised fund gives grants to organizations such as To Write Love on Her Arms, Attitudes in Reverse, Random Acts, The Wounded Warrior Project, and St. Jude's. This campaign was crucial in the development of the SPNFamily Crisis Support Network, an initiative by Ackles and co-star Misha Collins. The network trains volunteers in mental health crisis support and pairs them with fans in need. This campaign's slogan was You Are Never Alone, and at the end of the campaign, over 10,000 shirts had been sold and 1,500 fans had volunteered.

Image Credit: Random Acts

In addition to starting a movement, the stars were among the first to coin the term #SPNFamily (abbreviation for Supernatural), to describe the family-like nature of their fans.The idea spread like wildfire amongst the community and is now used to refer to the fandom.

Things did not stop there. In Fall 2015, fans attending a "Supernatural" convention in New Jersey raised $1,500 for Attitudes in Reverse. They have also started messaging boards for fans to share their experiences and continue to support each other.

The community has only grown stronger since. Fans are known to comfort each other (even if they are total strangers!) online and in person and to offer all the help they can to multiple causes. It is not uncommon to see social media users to use #SPNFamily to raise awareness for their own causes because the family will always help.

Co-star Misha Collins started the charity Random Acts in 2009, an organization dedicated to promoting acts of kindness worldwide. To date, Random Acts has donated thousands of dollars towards the education of children in Nicaragua and Haiti, as well as helped build a school. They also offer funding to a multitude of fan-proposed projects.

Another campaign was started by former co-star Genevieve Padalecki (Ruby the demon and Jared's wife!) to benefit Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Project in honor of the birth of their daughter.

Image Credit: Genevieve Padalecki

The most recent SPNFamily effort has been to aid those affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, called Stronger Than Storms. Ackles and his wife Danneel launched a crowdfunding page through their brewery, The Family Business Beer Company. To date, the effort has raised over $450,000. Since then, the Padaleckis have launched another campaign with Pop & Suki to benefit the fund.

Image Credit: Family Business Beer Co.

The impact of the #SPNFamily is immeasurable. What started as one person's desire to spread awareness has impacted countless lives and cemented a legacy.

If you remember nothing else from this article, know this. If you are suffering from a mental illness- you do not have to suffer alone. Help is available, and people want to help you.

Always Keep Fighting.


If you or someone you know is struggling, these hotlines may be of help:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
1-800-273-8255

The Trevor Project:
1-866-488-7386

Crisis Text Line:
Text "START" to 741-741

IMALIVE:
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things. If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity towards this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you, if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Cole And Sav LaBrant Give Me Hope That Our Generation Isn't Defined By Hookup Culture

Let's make "dating" a trend again.

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In case you haven't heard, Savannah and Cole's relationship is literally #goals.

From how they met to the way they kept Jesus in the center of everything they did, their relationship shows us that not all guys (and girls) just want to "hook up" or have a one night stand.

Being in college, it can be very hard to distance yourself from hookup culture because almost everyone participates in it in some way. This can mean meeting a random guy at a frat party and then going home with him that night, or it can mean sending a "You up?" text at 2 in the morning with only one intention in mind.

We, as a generation, don't date anymore.

A boy doesn't ask a girl (in person) to go to dinner and a movie anymore. If they are to do it, it's done over text and is totally impersonal. If a boy picks up a girl from their house, they honk the car horn instead of ring the doorbell.

But, some people still follow these few simple rules of dating. Some men choose to look nice for a date, bring the girl flowers, and only has the intention of getting to know the girl better, instead of only wanting to have sex with her by the end of the night.

So, boys, take the hint from Cole LaBrant.

Pursue that girl (or guy), even if she lives on the other side of the country. Put the relationship into God's hands, and He will guide you in the right direction.

The Bible also tells us to stay pure in our relationships until marriage.

For many, it can be very hard to keep this commitment to purity because everyone around us is saying to do the exact opposite.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins inside their own body. Do you not know your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies."

This verse does not condemn us for what we have done in the past. If you've had sex in the past, know that it is okay.

Even if you knew Jesus at the time, know that it is okay, because we serve a God of forgiveness and love. He knows that we are not perfect humans and that we are bound to mess up from time to time. So, do not judge yourself or others for what you have done in the past. The only thing you can do is to move forward with your eyes on Jesus.

Cole and Savannah have been very open about the ups and downs of their relationship on their YouTube channel, and also in their new book. They realize their relationship isn't perfect, and it gives us hope that our relationships don't need to be picture perfect either. If you slip up in your relationship, talk through it in open honesty, and move forward.

Image Credit: Cole and Savannah LaBrant on YouTube

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