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How an emoji can help people struggling with their mental health

Oct 25, 2022, 1:30 PM | Updated: May 15, 2023, 1:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Now, maybe more than ever, communities have focused on mental health and the importance of taking care of yourself.

There’s still a long way to go, but as one Salt Lake City-based community has found finding, the right people and resources may only be a click away. 

The WeAreMind community was established for like-minded people to get together and discuss their mental health struggles.

The Mind community started with a conversation and a post on LinkedIn.

From there, they found just like our own minds, while we can’t always see what goes on inside, we know it’s working. 

Nick Stagge co-founded Mind and is a mental health advocate. 

“I would carry around poker chips to help me manage my anxiety and depression. When the executive team would report to me and ask me about the poker chips, I told them I had a gambling problem,” Stagge said. 

He said at the time, it was easier for him to use the story of a fake gambling problem than it was to share what was really going on: A years-long struggle with anxiety and depression. 

That changed during one honest conversation. 

“When Levi asked about these poker chips I just told him the truth,” said Stagge. 

Up until that point, Levi Lindsay and Nick Stagge had been strictly business. Through that conversation and more than a dozen others, they shared their mental health struggles with one another and “WeareMind” came to life. 

“We accidentally launched,” Stagge said. 

It was a fortunate accident born in 2020.

“We made a post on social media with zero followers with zero intentions or goals on what was going to happen,” Stagge said. 

Here’s what did happen according to Stagge. “People just started coming out of the woodwork kind of raising their hands both privately and publicly saying I struggle with mental health and I want to start talking about that.”

Support shows up publicly but Stagge said the majority of support happens privately.

“We’re not trained psychiatrists, not trying to solve problems, but encourage conversation to be centered around empathy and understanding,” he explained. 

A way to know if someone is open to having those honest conversations is by looking for the 💭 emoji posted to their social profiles.

“That signifies they are a mental health advocate and they are open to having a convo with you. Open to being there to help. We’ve had people call in some pretty dire moments and we’ve had people call with a bunch of wins and success stories and happiness. If you’ve helped one you’ve helped enough,” Stagge said. 

Stagge said any money that comes in to Mind goes toward paying for therapy sessions for people who can’t afford it.

You can find those thought emojis across social media beside people’s names or handles. To get connected, you’re encouraged to visit them on LinkedIn or WeAreMind.org.

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis care worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute as well.

Additional resources

  • SafeUT: Parents, students, and educators can connect with a licensed crisis counselor through chat by downloading the SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-33888)
  • SafeUT Frontline: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app.
  • SafeUTNG: Members of the National Guard can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUTNG app.
  • Utah Warm Line: For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • The Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers a wide variety of programs and services including suicide prevention and crisis services, hospital treatment, therapy & medication management, substance Use & addiction recovery, child & teen programs, and maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
  • LiveOnUtah.org is a statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing Utah’s culture around suicide and mental health. They offer resources for faith based groups, LGBTQ+, youth, employers, firearm suicide prevention, and crisis and treatment options.

Other community-based resources

Center for Workplace Mental Health offers suicide prevention and response for employers.

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How an emoji can help people struggling with their mental health