Do you consider yourself to be fragile?
I recently collaborated with Katya and Cait, the founders of The Fragile Club. One thing we have in common is our shared passion for raising mental health awareness. We recognize that in order to do that, we need to encourage the conversation around mental illness. The more people who are brave enough to speak up about what they are battling, the less stigmatized it will be.
On both our sites, those suffering from mental illness are invited to speak up and share their stories, no matter how scary it might be. The Fragile Club also offers a line of merchandise, with profits going towards mental health organizations around the world. These simple pieces, including clothing, hats and even an adorable fanny pack, are branded with a single word “fragile.”
I took the opportunity to interview these two incredible women and find out more about what it means to be part of The Fragile Club.
1. What is the Fragile Club?
Katya: The Fragile Club, first of all, is a community. The place where we share our stories and support each other.
Cait: The Fragile Club is a socially conscious brand created to bring awareness to mental health. For every item sold we donate the profits to one of our partnered Mental Health Organizations. We know that everyone has their own powerful story that can impact individuals and we encourage sharing as a core way to empower and support.
2. In what ways does the Fragile Club help raise awareness for mental health?
Katya: We are building a network of people with social influence (celebrities and social media influencers) who share their experiences dealing with mental health-related problems in order to show that it is okay to be open and talk about it. Also, we donate part of the profit from sold products to Mental Health organizations around the world.
Cait: Through our ambassadors, collaborators, partners and community we aim to bring mental health into normal conversation. And it’s through sharing our individual stories that we can raise impactful awareness.
3. How do you two know each other?
Katya: We both work remotely in the area of digital marketing and advertising. We met not too long ago through friends in common during our travels in South-East Asia and stayed in touch since then. We have a lot in common – modelling, that we both do, remote work, travel, etc. Cait helped me with the content for a few projects and during one of the brainstorming sessions, the idea of The Fragile Club was born.
Cait: As Katya explains, we both have lots of experience working remotely and we met via mutual friends during our travels in South-East Asia and have stayed in touch since then. The first time we worked together I was creating content for some of Katya’s projects and we really enjoyed working together.
4. Aside from the Fragile Club, what kinds of things are you interested in?
Katya: As a full-time job, I do digital marketing and advertising and I’m absolutely loving it! Besides that, I’m interested in fitness, art and travels.
Cait: Both Katya and myself have been in the modeling industry. I love fitness, health, personal growth and content creation.
5. What inspired you to start the Fragile Club?
Katya: As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to create something that would bring some value to society. As I personally have experience with depression and anxiety, I want to support people who deal with mental health-related problems.
Cait: Katya and I both are very passionate about creating positive change and our biggest conversation has been around mental health. We wanted to create something in the mental health space and the Fragile Club fell into place.
6. Tell us more about your personal experiences with mental illness.
Katya: I had depression, hypochondria and anxiety. After my first thought that suicide isn’t a really bad idea, I went to the psychiatrist on the same day. Had to go through the therapy and course of antidepressants to get to the point where I am now. I lived with it over 3 years without understanding what’s wrong with me (most of the time I was thinking that I have some kind of disease and I’m dying). I’m happy it’s over.
Cait: My sister’s story has had a huge impact on me and is a big reason why I care so much about Fragile. She grew up a middle child of 4 girls and always felt like the underdog in our religious family. Along with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, this lead to her drinking and getting into drugs by the age of 12, pregnant by the time she was 16, and leaving home at 17. Years later, when she was 22, my family learned that she had become addicted to heroin two years earlier. This was devastating to my whole family. My mom has been amazing in helping her rehabilitate and she’s been safely on methadone for the past few years.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried over my little sister and how much I just want her to know she is loved and she doesn’t have to feel so alone and outcasted. I want anyone who’s felt the way she has to know that it’s okay to be vulnerable, and for the people around them to know how to help the people they love.
Personally, I’ve been through periods of depression, anxiety, self-hatred and multiple mental breakdowns. I’ve had anemia and endometriosis which both has fed periods of depression. And I know what it feels like to feel like no one supports you and you don’t know what to do.
7. What does being “fragile” mean to you?
Being fragile means that you are human. We want to highlight that everyone around us has gone through situations that we can’t understand, much less judge. Being fragile means that you accept your pain and become stronger by owning it. It also means that we need to remember that the person next to you has struggles and pain of their own, no matter who they are.
8. What do you feel is the biggest barrier to proper mental health care?
There are many barriers, but the biggest we believe is the stigma surrounding mental illness. This is why we care so much about our mission to raise awareness and funds for mental health. We need both community and government to support each other as well as the funds to bring about proper treatment and research.
9. What do you hope to achieve in the future with the Fragile Club?
We want to bring this important issue to the forefront of conversation in society and culture. That is our biggest hope and dream.
10. How can others become involved in your mission?
Simply by making a single purchase donates funds to mental health organizations we’ve vetted and believe in their work. By someone wearing Fragile it helps to bring mental health to conversation in their daily life.
11. Anything else you’d like to add?
By removing judgement, we have room support and encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves, and that includes understanding and supporting each other in our darkest moments.
For more information about The Fragile Club, to share your story on their site or to make a purchase and support mental health initiatives around the world, please visit http://fragileclub.com.