In December 2016, activist and filmmaker, Elyse Fox, opened up about her struggles with mental illness through a short film. The film, titled “Conversations with Friends,” documented her year-long struggle with depression and explored the realities of dealing with a mental illness. Unbeknownst to her at the time, this was the start of a movement. Shortly after releasing her film, Fox received a wave of young women expressing their need for mentors within their communities to guide them through their own mental health struggles.
Images courtesy of Yumi Yamsuan/Elyse Fox
Inspired by these responses, Elyse Fox founded Sad Girls Club, an inclusive online and in-person community focused on creating safe spaces for women to open up about mental health. SGC’s work centers around destigmatizing mental illness, and creating spaces for women who might not have access to therapy or are looking for a sense of belonging within the mental health space. Through events like group therapy sessions, poetry slams, and meditation sessions, SGC has been able to build a large community of women and foster authentic relationships among members across multiple cities.
In November 2018, SGC launched Sad Girls Run Club—a 6-week program connecting running and holistic wellness—in collaboration with Nike. Post-run, women engaged in yoga, meditation, reiki and other wellness sessions facilitated by leaders in the industry.
Currently, Sad Girls Club collaborates with Broadly on a weekly newsletter titled, “This is Fine.” Each week, the newsletter features an essay from a new contributor sharing methods (sometimes unconventional) they employ to keep themselves afloat. Past essays explored how Elyse Fox dealt with social anxiety at her first corporate job by secretly watching BoJack Horseman at her desk, and how model, Salem Mitchell, learned to control her anger by breaking things.
This year, Sad Girls Club plans to expand their reach to a wider audience. On April 5th, they hosted their first event targeted towards men—a candid discussion about the role hip hop plays within the mental health community. This event served as the soft launch of Sad Boys Club.
Although Sad Girls Club started out on Instagram and still remains very active on there, it has now expanded to a larger online platform where they share blog posts about wellness, love+sex, and spirituality.