There are, for better or for worse I can never decide, a lot of brands around these days that throw ‘anxiety’ on a t-shirt as a way to fight mental health stigma and carry on. So it was refreshing, to say the least, to happen upon Home By Nine because they’re doing a lot more than most.
More Than Just a Trend
I’ve talked about this time and time again – anxiety isn’t a trend. Depression isn’t. You don’t have OCD because you love your shirts being colour coordinated like The Home Edit.
I will always support mental health being talked about more openly, I chuckle at the memes, but I would like to see it go hand in hand with action. Go beyond a cute sweater and DO something. This isn’t possible for everyone and anyone, but I very much admire brands who make it a priority. I mean a year ago I would have laughed if you told me a beauty brand was making step towards lessening the stigma and raising money but hey, Rare Beauty is making it happen.
And I think it does help the stigma having words used more openly, but I also wonder if it has any negative effects having a flashy tee covered in flowers say ‘depression’ and that’s it? I’m not sure.
So when Home by Nine first came to my attention, I want to say it was because of my friend Carly (hey girl) I was impressed it was SO much more than a brand. It’s a full on movement making strides for not just women (who are a few steps ahead awareness wise) but for men’s mental health too.
The Home By Nine Story
Home By Nine was created by a hilariously honest and sarcastic man named Tom, in Kitchener (so yes bonus, it’s a local company to support!). Tom is extremely open about his mental health, has Panic Disorder, and has combined his determination for lessening the stigma with the need for more affordable therapy.
And even though Tom’s story is very much a part of why he created Home By Nine, it goes beyond that and to his father who took antidepressants most of his life. He passed away in 2018 and Tom launched this project for him, and many others.
I, and I think most people because it’s our human nature, connect more to a brand when there’s a personal story behind it and this is no different, but reality is that this could be a shared story of a lot more people and we just don’t know it yet. My mom is also now on the same medication as me, and who knows if that would have ever happened if I wasn’t so vocal about trying it out myself. There’s a huge shift right now surrounding mental health and the discussion around it, and I’m slowly noticing the discussion go beyond just me and my friends and to their parents as well.
ANYWAY besides having a brand that brings the discussion of mental health front and centre, they also ensure that a dollar from every sale goes towards providing subsidized therapy to give everyone a chance to have 100% of the benefits of therapy at 15% of the cost.
Don’t fret, I dug more into this (hello, my j-school past) and found more details! There’s a program called Pay In Kindness that they work with:
“A subsidized counselling initiative, Pay in Kindness is one of the ways that we at Exhale Therapy are working to bridge the gap between financial hardship and mental wellness. In partnership with Tom and Home by Nine, this program was designed for members of our community that are struggling to make ends meet.”
I Know We’re All Stuck At Home Right Now But…
Tom talks about how ‘the allure of nighttime social gatherings is fading, and like my father I have an increasing desire to always make sure I’m Home By Nine,’ and while right now I think we’re all mostly home…all day, that feeling still stands. If anything, it’s more important.
Right now, you might be home all day. Working all day, in and out of meetings and phone calls. And sure that’s not the same as being at a party but that feeling of wanting to go home and rest? Recharge? You still NEED to do that.
I’m living at home, I leave the house to go to the gym, and I work from my bedroom. But around 9, I’m still exhausted by people. I still want to get ready for the night, close my bedroom curtain (no door, still) and rest. Just be by myself and read a bit or watch a movie or just light some candles.
So really, I think it’s important now more than ever to give yourself that time and listen to your body!!!! Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you’re resting when your home is also your workplace.
I’m going to be writing a check-in about my mental health shortly but I think it’s important to for me to try amplify brands that are making a difference.