Be real to heal.
It started as a single story.
Heart On My Sleeve (HOMS) was born on May 30th 2017 when Mitch Wallis (the founder) shared a video on Facebook, describing his immense battles with anxiety, depression & a lifetime of struggle – highlighting the conflict he felt between having the “perfect” outside life on social media, whilst suffering deeply beneath the surface. The video went viral – reaching over 1 million people in a week. People all around the world started tattooing hearts on their arm and sharing their story.
Mitch was originally inspired to do this because one story saved his life. After stumbling across a homemade video on YouTube in the midst of a life threatening breakdown, he witnessed a young man telling a story that was almost identical to his own. In that moment, his greatest need was met: he wasn’t alone. The sense of relief, belief and direction he gained from that one experience acted as the foundation & catalyst for him to get to a place in his life that he never thought possible – living healthy and coping well. So, he wanted to give that moment to one other person… and the rest is history.
“I truly believe that one person’s story has the power to change your life forever”
Inspire resilience and belief through story.
HOMS is now a leading global mental health movement helping storytellers make meaning from their pain by sharing their journey & learnings in support of others, or by helping story-receivers start their journey to true healing through the belief they are worthy and not alone.
The heart symbol has now become an international badge of authenticity & vulnerability all around the world.
Sharing stories of struggle & overcoming empowers people to take action.
“The story of someone else may finally let us see that we have editing capability over our own narrative”
A common truth about mental health is that we cannot start to heal until we accept the truth. To make peace with who we are, what we have been through, and where we want to go. Often there are too many layers of own internal stories from years of pain that inhibit our ability to grow. However, the quickest way to cut through those barriers is by relating to someone else’s story that has shared a similar experience. By seeing others go through what we have, it often gives us the permission to let go of the shame, go beyond the band-aid, and finally address our own demons & core issues. It removes our sense of feeling alone. Through the vulnerability of others, we dissolve the toxic swelling of our wounds, leaving us with the raw bones of what really matters, so that we can finally fix the underlying issue. These stories also give us belief that we can be more than our past, and provide us with coping ideas/options that we can add to our toolkit for how we move forward. The storyteller gets to heal in the process as well, by making meaning from their pain, making sense of their life, and creating a new identity beyond the pain. This is how we learn to love ourselves and feel loved by others.
We extend the conversation from ‘R U OK? to ‘I’m not ok’.
Our approach is one of accountability, authenticity & empowerment. Heart On My Sleeve extends the conversation from “are you ok?” to “I’m not/wasn’t ok”. We don’t use our story to hide, make excuses, be a victim or blame others for not noticing. We bring the power back to our self and put our hand up to show our mental scars for the benefit of others, or make a commitment to own it when we aren’t coping and take action to get better.