Online community Self-Care Is For Everyone is one million followers strong, and growing. It’s a powerful testament to the need for their message — to be kinder and gentler to ourselves, and to forge bonds between us all via the web. That’s an ambitious goal, but one the organization is moving toward via an unusual method: Clothing. With soothing messages like, “How are you, really?” and “You can do hard things,” Self-Care Is For Everyone’s apparel is encouraging us to look within, and financially supporting artists and nonprofits in the process. How (and why) do they do it? We asked the founders for their secrets.
KCM: What’s the mission behind Self-Care Is For Everyone?
Self-Care Is For Everyone (SCIFE) has distributed more than $500K to independent artists and nonprofit organizations serving the mental-health community. It was founded on World Kindness Day in 2018 by Jonathan Martofel — a licensed marriage and family therapist in LA — AJ Martofel, and Sasha Aronzon-Martofel.
Our mission is to share gentle reminders of hope and to encourage mental-health conversations, to help prevent suicide. We’re eager to make self-care and healing resources, tools, and practices more accessible for everyone.
We primarily share our self-care reminders via our clothing, which invites conversations that have the healing power of help someone feel seen, understood, and cared for.
For the month of September, you’ve partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Can you tell us more about this collaboration?
This is the second year in a row that we’ve collaborated with our friends at AFSP, the first nationwide not-for-profit organization dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education, and advocacy. We’re honored to partner with them on this special suicide-prevention collection, where 100% of net profits go directly to benefit AFSP and our shared mission. Together, we also collaborated on creating conversation guides to encourage talking more openly about suicide, and to support the people in checking in on their loved ones who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.
Can you tell us about the community you’ve created online?
Our community has grown to more than 1 million mental-health advocates who believe in the power of gentle reminders to help others feel seen and empowered to keep going. And the art on each of our pieces has been drawn by independent artists who are on their own mental-health journeys. Plus, each purchase directly supports suicide prevention, with the donation of 10% of net profits going to mental health nonprofits on the frontlines, showing up for those struggling with mental illness.
How do you think the pandemic will affect mental health in the long term?
The pandemic continues to make it challenging to feel safe — and comfortable seeing and connecting with others in real life. We may find ourselves staying more at home, isolated, and disconnecting from the world. The more time spent online, and less time interacting with loved ones, can make it more difficult to feel joy, more challenging to trust others, and can increase stress and panic, as well as anxiety, depression, and mood fluctuations. Many of us may find that living during a pandemic makes it nearly impossible to make meaningful changes, and leaves us feeling “stuck.” Our hope is to inspire people to remain gentle with themselves as they keep surviving this pandemic — and to stay connected as we look to normalize online friendships and share in mental-health struggles.
How can people incorporate self-care into their lives when they already feel overwhelmed?
When we promote self-care, we’re taking into account just how challenging it is to prioritize mental well-being when life is so demanding, and everything can feel so overwhelming. We don’t view self-care as a destination or something that can be purchased outright. Instead, we’re sharing reminders for people to be gentle with themselves. We’re hoping that people incorporate self-care into their lives by being reminded that they’re worthy of prioritizing their mental health, and that by practicing self-soothing techniques like breathing, they can feel present and grounded and able to listen to their needs. From there, someone feeling overwhelmed can start to reclaim their life.
At Self-Care Is For Everyone, we embrace community care at a time when all of us most need to feel seen, supported, and loved. Self-care invites everyone to grow through it at their own pace, one breath at a time. We’ll get through all of this —together.
Head here to learn more about SCIFE’s September suicide-prevention campaign.