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Find Your Anchor's Blue Boxes Want to Remind You You're Not Alone If You're Feeling Suicidal


Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Update: Within a day of publishing this article, Find Your Anchor has received more than 3,800 requests for boxes. If you’d like to help the organization fulfill its mission to provide these boxes to those struggling for free, please consider donating via the link on their website here.

When you’re struggling, whether you’re having thoughts of suicide, live with a mental health condition or are just going through a rough time, it may seem like ever feeling better again requires a large effort. However, thanks to the grassroots suicide prevention nonprofit Find Your Anchor, sometimes the hope you need may come in a much smaller, blue package.

According to founder Ali Borowsky, Find Your Anchor aims to inspire hope and support people who may be struggling in an engaging and creative way to destigmatize suicide and mental health. But more than that, Borowsky said the inspiration for Find Your Anchor came from a need she personally encountered in the mental health system.

“Suicide awareness and prevention has always been something very near and dear to me. I’ve personally struggled and everything that I encountered was just so sterile,” Borowsky told The Mighty. “I couldn’t find what I wanted or needed in the world. So I thought, I’m a graphic designer, I’m going to create it.”

The heart of Find Your Anchor’s mission is a small blue box. You could think of it as a mental health first aid kit. Inside each box, Borowsky packs many “good vibes,” including a “52+ Reason to Live” deck of cards, depression infographic, list of resources, posters, stickers, a bracelet and a letter. Borowsky also encourages recipients to add their own anchors — little reminders to “hold on to for another day, another minute.” Find Your Anchor relies completely on donations to make the boxes.

Find Your Anchor distributes boxes in two ways. If you’re struggling, you can request a free box from the Find Your Anchor website — Borowsky wanted to make sure the resource is easily available to anyone who might need it. You can also become a messenger, donate and gift the box to someone you know who needs it or leave it in a public place for someone to find. Borowsky said Find Your Anchor boxes have made their way from the Vegas strip to local libraries.

Borowsky said Find Your Anchor recently sent its 1,452nd box, but she saw the positive impact from day one.

The very first box I sent, I sent to this girl,” Borowsky said. “She sent me an email back and said, ‘When I opened the box, I just started crying. You must have saved hundreds of lives by now.’ And it was the first box.”

Borowsky has gotten pages and pages of testimonials from those who have received a box, and some organizations are catching on to the value of Find Your Anchor. In Stark County, Ohio, Borowsky said schools had experienced multiple student suicides in a short period of time. Officials ordered 100 boxes to place around its schools for students who may be struggling.

Find Your Anchor also caught the attention of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Born This Way executive director Maya Smith discovered the mission and ordered two boxes. In a blog post on the foundation’s website, she shared she carried one around with her, including during a trip to Las Vegas. Smith found her driver, Marques, needed the Find Your Anchor box after he shared his story. She wrote:

I told him that I had been holding onto this box, from New York to California and now Las Vegas, and wanted to give it to someone who needed to be reminded of their anchor, of their strength and of the need the world has for them. … I think the key to building a kinder and braver world is to share the beautiful stories, the difficult stories and to invest in them; to anchor ourselves in those stories and the people behind them.

While Find Your Anchor has made a positive impact on those who receive or find the boxes, Borowsky shared the grassroots mission isn’t without challenges. One of the major ones for the nonprofit organization is funding the boxes. According to the organization’s website, each Find Your Anchor box costs $25 to create, including shipping. Find Your Anchor currently relies on donations.

Borowsky believes in keeping the boxes free for those who are struggling. To do this, she hopes to partner with more organizations that buy boxes for their communities in addition to donations to make sure Find Your Anchor is financially stable for years to come.

For Borowsky, Find Your Anchor’s mission is personal, even when at times she felt like her goal to help others who are struggling felt “hypocritical.”

“I started Find Your Anchor in 2012. The last time I was hospitalized was in 2016,” Borowsky said. She continued:

A lot of times I felt like a hypocrite doing this work. Who am I to say that it’s OK or that it’ll get better when I can’t take my own advice at times? I really struggled with that for a while, but as I’ve grown and gotten healthier, and then in a better spot … for me, in a lot of ways, each box launched into the world is like a right of passage for me, and being grateful to be in a better space and wanting to pay that forward to others.

If you’re struggling and need a little extra hope, you can request a Find Your Anchor box on the website. And if you’d like to become a messenger and support others in need, you can sign up via the website. Borowsky emphasized that it’s even small steps from ordinary people that help keep the mission going — and save lives.

“I can’t begin to express how much it means and how much how much any little bit helps,” Borowsky said. “Just getting getting the word out, letting people know that this is a resource, and that this is an option — there are strangers who care and that people don’t have to go through this alone.”

If you are struggling, you’re not alone. To connect with a community that cares, head to our #CheckInWithMe page. There you can read stories and post a Mighty Thought or Question to give and get support.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Header image via Find Your Anchor’s Instagram