Spotlight On: Elyse Fox of Sad Girls Club

Mental illness is complicated, but not talking about it doesn’t make it less so. Part of our mission is to help people feel better, both physically and mentally, and while CBD can help, there are many tools you can lean on for support. Mental Health Memos is a series that delves into the importance of destigmatizing mental illness and shines a light on those who are using their voice to bring these conversations to front and center. 

Now, more than ever, it’s ok to admit you’re not ok. But the modern world hasn’t always been a place where feeling sad is something people feel comfortable talking about. Brooklyn-based mental health advocate Elyse Fox founded Sad Girls Club to open up a space where people – specifically, women of color – feel comfortable doing just that. “I wanted women of color to know that it’s okay not to be strong all of the time,” she says. 

Drawing from her own experience with depression and abuse, Fox launched Sad Girls Club in 2017 as an Instagram account to share facts and treatment options with others who might be struggling. Now, @sadgirlsclub has grown into a nonprofit organization offering IRL meet-ups and events, online resources for those who might be struggling, and a newsletter offering advice from therapists, best practices for positive use of social media and a directory of mental health hotlines. Here, Fox shares how she turned coping mechanisms into a community. 

How did the idea for Sad Girls Club come about?

I created Sad Girls Club after releasing a short film about my experience with depression. Called Conversations With Friends, the film chronicled my worst year of depression after getting out of an abusive relationship and moving back to New York from Los Angeles. The film sparked a global conversation with young women and soon after, Sad Girls Club blossomed.

What’s one thing about starting a business that no one told you?

That mentors are so important for career growth. You will never have all of the answers at any stage, but there are many people who can help guide you in the right direction.

"Find a coping practice that helps you empty negative thoughts and clear your mind – like journaling or meditation – that you can incorporate into your daily routine."
How can you combat feeling isolated during this period of mandated isolation?

Create a routine that involves connecting with people safely. Try to schedule FaceTime check-ins with friends and loved ones. Find a coping practice that helps you empty negative thoughts and clear your mind – like journaling or meditation – that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

What’s been the biggest change you’ve made that’s had the greatest impact on your day-to-day?

I’ve become more aware of when to step away and take time for myself and my mental health.

If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?

To trust the process.

What are some daily rituals that help keep you in a positive headspace?

Deep breathing, stretching, and limiting both screen time and news consumption. It's so important.

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