12 Kinds of Kindness: Let’s talk about Mental Health

Health & Wellness


Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman are using their design powers to invite us to talk about the stuff we really don’t like talking about. 12 Kinds of Kindness has spawned a side conversation to help ease the stigma around mental health by making it OK to just talk.

Recounting her struggles with perfectionism and anxiety, Jessica’s frank and honest account of what it is like to have an eating disorder helps erase the simplistic definition society gives it. It has nothing to do with food. Disclosing her experience was empowering, so Walsh quickly made a platform for others to find the same.

Screenshot 2016-02-09 14.46.02

You can share your mental health story here— no need to package it up nicely and present it with a bow. That’s my favorite aspect of this project! It’s okay to be sad. Anxious. To be not OK right now, in this moment. The act of putting your story out in the world is therapeutic, even when shared anonymously. Sometimes we feel like our problems are all our own, that no one would understand or accept the weight of our anxiety and depression. I’ve found through sharing my personal journey that my problems were not unique. They’re symptoms of experiences and pressures you’ve probably experienced as well, and being OK with the way you’re reacting to it is the first step in feeling better.


As for my mental healthy journey today? I’m in maintenance mode now. But, as many of you may know, maintenance means accepting there isn’t a cure for your predisposition. It’s about management, good boundaries, and a solid support network. After years of learning about myself and my “different” brain, I’ve come to love the way I’m made. The requirement of being in touch with my physical and mental health has made it easier to not only stay in tune with my subconscious and impulsive self, I have a better understanding of my loved ones and peers. I’m more patient, less judgemental, and more willing to lend a hand. And just as I experience sadness, joy is here too, working in tandem to balance the scales.

Images courtesy of 12 Kinds of Kindness’ Tumblr

BY Kate Arends - February 10, 2016

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February 10, 2016 10:46 am

My mom has struggled mightily with major depression for much of her life, and watching her slowly heal and be able to go into “maintenance mode” after several years of “panic mode” has been awe-inspiring. The more we talk about mental health (whether it has personally touched us or not) and make a safe space for people to lean into their vulnerabilities, the more we are ALL contributing to a kinder world that can pick us up when we fall.

Thanks for being such a voice in this conversation, Kate!

February 11, 2016 8:50 am

I wish the label of “mental” would just go away. It’s “emotional” health we speak of. Just like the label of “bi-polar”–call it what it is “Manic” depression. I KNOW this. I suffer from a plethora of emotional conditions such as anxiety, hypocondria, depression, delusion. It’s all emotional which triggers thoughts in your head….

February 12, 2016 8:49 am

My sister has bi-polar disorder and I struggle everyday to come to terms with it. This is super informative and helpful, Thanks.


February 13, 2016 9:05 pm

After years of knowing I have anxiety and depression, I actually saw a therapist and wow was it awesome/revealing! I now have a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and feel ok about that. I love your blog all the time, but I really relate you your mental posts. It’s comforting when someone you look up to shares a common struggle!

Morgan Borine
February 20, 2016 4:03 pm

Dearest Kate,
Once again, this is wonderful! I wish that I could click a “love” button on every entry pertaining to mental health. Wit is at it’s very best when touching upon these very sensitive topics. Thank you for your continued contributions toward the eradication of mental health stigma. 🙂

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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.

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