To Write Love on Her Arms…

One more important message today that I want to help send out…A subject particularly close to me…

To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is an interfaith, American non-profit organization which aims to present hope for people struggling with addiction, depression, self injury, and thoughts of suicide while also investing directly into treatment and recovery. Based in Melbourne, Florida, TWLOHA seeks to connect people to treatment centers, websites, books, support groups, and other resources. TWLOHA also encourages people to have honest conversations about these issues, to live in community.

TWLOHA was founded by Jamie Tworkowski in March 2006. Prior to that, the seeds of the group were sown by a story written by Tworkowski, about 19-year-old Renee Yohe, who struggled with addiction, depression, self-injury, and attempted suicide. Tworkowski’s story, written in February 2006, chronicles Yohe’s life five days before she entered treatment. Unable to get Yohe checked into a treatment centre in the meantime, friends offered moral support.

“We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life….”

TWLOHA began operating as a non-profit organization in October 2006 under the umbrella of Fireproof Ministries. On April 30, 2007, TWLOHA left Fireproof and TWLOHA, Inc. was established in Florida as a 501(c) non-profit organization. The TWLOHA team is made up of 12 full-time staff members and a rotating group of approximately 6 interns.

On January 6, 2011 TWLOHA won the 2010 “Must-Follow Non-Profit” Award at the 4th Annual Mashable Awards.

A film based on TWLOHA titled Renee is due for release in 2012. It stars Kat Dennings as Renee Yohe and Chad Michael Murray as Jamie Tworkowski.

Some sad facts…:

  • 121 million people worldwide suffer from depression. (World Health Organization)
  • 18 million of these cases are happening in the United States. (The National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Between 20% and 50% of children and teens struggling with depression have a family history of this struggle and the offspring of depressed parents are more than three times as likely to suffer from depression. (U.S. Surgeon General’s Survey, 1999)
  • Depression often co-occurs with anxiety disorders and substance abuse, with 30% of teens with depression also developing a substance abuse problem. (NIMH)
  •  2/3 of those suffering from depression never seek treatment.
  • Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers. (NIMH)

According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the leading causes of disability, with approximately 121 million people suffering with depression worldwide. The National Institute of Mental Health states that approximately 18 million people suffer from depression in America alone. Depression does not discriminate across age, race, gender, or class. Among teenagers it is estimated that 20 percent will suffer from depression at some point by the time they reach adulthood. There are also as many as 8.3 percent of teens suffering from depression for at least a year at a time, compared to 5.3 percent of the general population.

Depression is something very familiar to me since I have been struggling with it for what it seems like forever… I know how lonely and painful it can be feeling all alone in this and not understanding that there is help and there is cure…Most people don’t acknowledge they have depression..where I come from – it’s just life…and you have to be strong and survive without whining. But problems of life is one thing….and a disease that makes you feel like you have problems even when you don’t is not something you just can ignore no matter how strong you are. Therefore I feel very strongly about helping fighting this by all means possible…

No matter how bad it was for me I was always looking forward for the day when I will be well and I will be something more so I could set a great example and be great inspiration to someone who is in a place like I was and sometimes still am…I always believed it has to get better it just took me a while to figure out the way there…Now I am sharing this here hoping this will help someone…this is my first step of trying to inspire someone, because today  – I am happy! I was so yesterday and the day before….I did not believe I will be happy not so long ago…I had forgotten the feeling, but it doesn’t take long to remember it again and it’s a damn good feeling=)

I might not be happy tomorrow or the day after…depression – comes and goes…But now I am ready for it with all my mind and soul..and when a day is bad, I accept it and strongly believe tomorrow will be better…It always is! And I know I am not alone in this, it helps to know there are people feeling like me out there and we are all together in this…It should make us stronger=)

If you feel like there is no way out and that you are all alone – well, it never is as bad as our minds make it…Get help, there’s always one around! First step is admitting you need one…and it is NOT a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of your strength and a will to have a better life and there can’t be anything but respect and proudness for that…

I wish you all be very happy as much days as possible and remember that there is nothing you can’t solve, just need to find the right way and maybe this organization will show you one of them=) It moved me and helped me…=)

Follow this organization on their website, Facebook and join their community. Also check out their online store. See them on Tumblr  and MySpace too=)

Here are some videos…