With the time off from raving, many of us are currently looking for ways to maintain self-care, keep positive, and reflect on our time away from live events. There is no way to have a serious reflection of the EDM community without discussing mental health. There is no music community like EDM. In no other genre of music events do strangers (who often meet for less than 72 hours) become life-long friends. Emotional connection runs deep at festivals, we are all bonded by a need to escape trauma through music and dance. Ravers have been at the forefront of normalizing self-care by their very nature; after all, isn’t a little hedonism good from time to time?
From Time to Time. But sometimes a little hedonism goes a bit to far.
To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a non-profit movement founded by ravers dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and to invest directly into treatment and recovery. They have booths at many major festivals throughout the United States: from all the Insomniac Raves to Electric Forest, and even Lighting in a Bottle. TWLOHA most recently made an appearance at Okeechobee, a festival more local to the Melbourne, FL company.
Since its start in 2006, TWLOHA has donated over $2.6 million directly into treatment, has responded to over 250,000 messages from over 100 countries, and traveled more than 3.8 million miles to meet people face-to-face at nearly 3,000 events. Each month, they connect with 5 million people online through social media and their “FIND HELP” Tool fields 5,000 searches made by people seeking affordable, local mental health resources.
Last fall TWLOHA wrapped up their 8th annual campaign to honor World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8 - September 14). With the help of supporters from around the world, the organization was able to raise more than $250k for treatment and recovery, surpassing their initial goal of $150k. Over 5,700 people donated to the "You Make Today Better" campaign, in addition to the sale of over 4,600 World Suicide Prevention Day packs. The money raised will help sponsor over 4,100 counseling sessions and fund 60,000 FIND HELP searches.
There are several ways ravers can get involved! One place to look is their Get Involved page. From there you can help start a conversation, find ways to bring TWLOHA to your community, fundraise, and join in national campaigns to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health. Other simple ways to support the cause include sending donations or representing by purchasing and wearing TWLOHA merchandise. TWLOHA is somewhat unique in that the sale of merchandise remains a primary source of funding. More than just mental health, TWLOHA is both a brand and a lifestyle: we are constantly taking care of our mental health. Much like the semi colon; TWLOHA representation has become a staple in EDM fashion.
Not only is the clothing fashionable, every piece of merchandise also has a much bigger purpose: It’s a conversation starter. It’s something that ties supporters together as a community. It spreads the TWLOHA message to someone who might not have found out about this type of support in the EDM community otherwise. It shares hope, kindness and a path.
Fashion is designed by nature to make us pause and think. In this regard, TWOLHA is taking a new approach to that pause.
Pooja Shah is an LA-Based IT Consultant and the FestivalAddicts website monkey. When she’s not posting articles, getting sponsors, or headbanging to the latest Lost Lands Compilation Album, you can follow her festival adventures on Instagram @Pooja_Shahnanigans