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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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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An Open Letter to Fordham Registration

Because I don't have any credits to waste.

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Dear Fordham,

There are a lot of things wrong with your class registration, and your issues are creating issues for me.

To start with, why are ALL the classes that are even remotely interesting or relevant to my major schedule for the same time on the same days? I can't comprehend why someone thought it was a good idea to schedule all the good classes on either Monday/Thursday at 11:30 or Tuesday/Friday at 10:00?

No matter how much I want to, I can't be in two places at the same time. So now I'm forced to choose between The American Revolution and Statistics. Or better yet, I can spend three hours trying to fruitlessly finesse everything together.

Crafting a decent schedule shouldn't require several days worth of effort. I shouldn't have to email every single department dean in order to try and fulfill my requirements.

I bet you're wondering how this is relevant now, in July, several months after class registration.

I'm still trying to get into the courses I need to take, as I was told to wait until the summer to see if seats would open up. So now I'm back at square one, with a radically incomplete schedule, waiting to hear from three professors because all the possible course sections overlap or are full.

So Fordham, do us all a favor - add more sections. You're making me take Texts and Contexts, I'm not doing it because I think it will be fun. If I'm supposed to tackle the Core in four years, there have to be enough course sections so that some are still open by the time it's my turn to register. If you're really feeling generous, maybe stagger the classes out a little bit. I can only be in one classroom at a time.

Sincerely,

The Entire Student Body

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Wikimedia

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