This past summer, I attended a workshop event called Leadershape, at which I had the opportunity to expand not only my leadership skills, but also to brainstorm ways I could improve my community. My peers and I participated in multiple activities and discussions that broadened our minds, making us aware of the world that we live in as wells as our ability to change it. I knew what I wanted to do once I got back to campus in the fall.

When school started once again in September, I noticed something. Amidst my own episode of depression, I had a conversation with one of my close friends, who revealed he was also suffering from his own battle with mental illness. I kept talking to my friends, who were all secretly fighting something, yet they also felt that they had to pretend that they weren’t. Perhaps due to the competitive atmosphere of Tulane, I found that we were all hiding such a big part of our lives and identities.

Upon this realization,  I started a movement to keep the conversation going. I wanted to give my peers a safe place in order to also give them the chance to share their personal struggles. I wanted to create a support system in which they could feel comfortable talking about their inner battles, and I thought what better place to do that than social media?

I find that on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, I tend to use a front, and I think that’s a common behavior for a lot of people. We all like to put our best selves forward, as if to flaunt our lives and to have others envy us. But why haven’t we realized yet that that is only going to foster mental illnesses like anxiety and depression further?

So why don’t we use social media to do the opposite? Why don’t we post about what isn’t going right or who we are in authenticity as a vehicle of solidarity and acceptance? The #RawMovement was created to do just that. I launched the Instagram and Facebook pages in an attempt to destigmatize mental illness, to promote self-love, to embrace the authentic self, and to raise awareness. In short, it was created to spread love. It was created to help you be you, be real, and be raw.

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INSTAGRAM: @mysecretis_raw



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