Liptember, raising funds for mental health for women.

I’m feeling particularly excited today.  Not only is it the beginning of a new month, and the start of Spring, but Liptember commences today!

What’s Liptember?  Its an awesome fundraising initiative to help raise money for research into women’s mental health.  Participants commit to wearing lipstick every day for the month of September and find sponsors to donate to the cause. It’s a truly excellent idea and I am so excited to be taking part this year.

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve struggled with a variety of mental health issues for most of my life.  I’ve had depression and a generalized anxiety disorder since I was a teenager.  This manifested as an eating disorder in my teens and emetophobia for a big chunk of my life.

In addition to my own struggles, I’ve watched some of the people closest to me battle their own mental health issues.  I’ve seen some of my favourite people suffer from depression and anxiety, addiction, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and so many and varied problems.  I’ve seen and felt the sting of the stigma that comes with having a mental illness.  I’ve felt the frustration at being unable to access the help I need, or watching a friend go through hell because the systems that are in place to assist those with mental illness are woefully inadequate.  I’ve lamented mates who have experienced crippling side effects from medications that will control their mental illness but create a minefield of physical ailments. I’ve studied psychology and marvelled at how little we know about something that affects so many people.  So you can see why I care so deeply about mental health.

Now, Liptember is quite special because it focuses on raising money for mental health research for women.  You might be wondering why it’s so important to look at women specifically, rather than raising money for mental health research for all.  There are a couple of reasons why I believe it’s vital to support this cause:

– Firstly, most research into mental health is carried out on white, adult males.  This research is brilliant, but it can’t be directly applied to women, who have a different biological chemistry to men.

– There are a range of mental health issues that only occur in women, such as postnatal depression.

– Many drugs which are currently used to treat common mental illnesses cannot be taken by women who are pregnant, and can lessen the effectiveness of some forms of contraceptives.  I believe that it’s important to find medical interventions which can be taken by women without impacting their reproductive health.

– Advances in research into mental health in women may provide important insights into the way we treat mental illness in all people.

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So I’ll be wearing lipstick every day in September, and taking a photo each day and posting them here on the blog.  I won’t be able to post each day, but I’m aiming to  have a weekly update with all the photos from the previous week.  I see lipstick as a profound personal statement for combating mental illness.  It seems simplistic, but when I’m feeling low, I like to put on a swipe of bright colour to cheer myself up.  For me getting dressed up is a form of creative expression, a way to take control and feel good about myself.  My lipstick is the war paint that helps me feel a bit more confident when I’m overwhelmed or down.

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So how can you get involved?  There are a couple of things that you can do…

– Firstly, you can donate to my Liptember page.  All donations over $2 are tax deductible and every dollar counts.  It doesn’t matter if you donate $1 or $100, I’ll appreciate every single donation.

– You can also purchase your official Liptember lipstick for just $4.99.  You can buy your lippy at any Chemist Warehouse store.  For the first time, Chemist Warehouse are now offering the Liptember lippies on their online store with international shipping available.  How exciting!

– If you’re really keen, you can sign up and start fundraising yourself.  It’s super easy to set up your fundraising page and begin raising funds for this awesome cause.

– I’ll be donating 10% of every sale from my etsy store to Liptember.  I’ve got all kinds of hand-crafted items and e-books available.  I’m also happy to create a custom-made to-order item just for you.

So what are you waiting for?  Click on over to my fundraising page to donate.  I truly appreciate each and every donation.  Thank you so much for supporting this awesome cause.

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