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Feel You Features with Elyse Fox UGG | May 8, 2022

FEEL YOU FEATURES is a monthly series and giveback program celebrating a diverse group of creatives and changemakers who champion the visibility of topics relating to people and the planet. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we continue the series with Elyse Fox – a Brooklyn-native filmmaker, mental health activist, and founder of Sad Girls Club. Sad Girls Club was created to provide access, resources, and community within the mental wellness space to Black women and the BIPOC community. Elyse enjoys canceled meetings, picking flowers, directing content, and spending time with her baby boy, Basel. Introduce yourself, what you do, and where you call home. I’m Elyse Fox, and I’m a creative and mental health activist based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2017, after releasing a documentary film about your life with depression, you founded Sad Girls Club – a nonprofit committed to destigmatizing mental wellness for millennial and Gen Z womxn, girls, and femmes of color. What more can you tell us about it and its mission? SGC is a space that creates community around something that’s been very stigmatized in the Black community. When I launched SGC, I wanted Black women to know that they’re not alone as they navigate mental health issues, while providing access to support. We heal our community through in-person events, programs, and digital content.

ELYSE IN THE FUZZ SUGAR TERRY CROSS What made you want to name it how you did? I love this question. When I was younger, I didn’t know what depression, anxiety, and PTSD were. The only word to describe my feelings was ‘sad.’ When we don’t have the language to articulate our feelings, we lean on words that come naturally or easiest to us. Many Black women experience mental health issues to identify us as a space to feel seen, heard, respected, and worthy of healing. As both an online platform and IRL community, Sad Girls Club is committed to bringing girls together who are battling mental illnesses. How do you personally define mental health, and what’s the significance of prioritizing it daily? I define mental health as pouring into yourself consistently with the purpose of enriching your mind and spirit. When you prioritize your mental health, you have a better chance of succeeding in life. You’ll also have a better understanding of yourself, what your boundaries are, and how you can best relieve stress.

THE FUZZY SUGAR TERRY CROSS Like UGG, Sad Girls Club is all about expressing your feels with zero judgement. What spaces and resources does the club provide? We launched a program called Chat Room in 2020. It’s our version of group therapy that was created as a direct response to the feelings of loneliness throughout the pandemic. We also host monthly in-person meetups, digital conversations on social media, and we will be kicking off our first annual Sad Girls Club Wellness Summit in Brooklyn, NY on May 21 to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month. In the spirit of meeting our community where they are, we’ll hit the road for the Summer of Sad Girls Tour and visit eight cities across the nation and London. We’re big on in–person gatherings, and this is an amazing way to activate micro-Sad Girls Clubs around the country. How can someone join the Club? You can join the club by subscribing to our newsletter, contributing to our blog, participating in our events, and sharing your story when promoted on social media. Our doors never close.

ELYSE IN THE FUZZ SUGAR TERRY May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Why is Mental Health Awareness Month important to you, and why is it of the essence that we – especially women of color – recognize it? Women of color are very often seen as the lowest in society, and we have to make sure we’re creating space for ourselves that combat the microaggressions of society. We also should recognize MHAM as a reminder that we’re worth taking time for ourselves with the hope that mental health is prioritized better for the next generation of WOC. As a leading voice, any closing words? Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month by treating yourself to something you’ve never done before.

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