Harry’s ‘Facing Stigma’ Partnership

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we sat down with our partners at Harry’s to discuss the complexities surrounding veterans health care, as well as, how we’ve combined forces to focus on ending the stigma surrounding mental health! Read more below:
“We’ve had quite a history with social impact from the beginning at Harry’s. We’ve been donating 1% of our sales almost since we launched and we’re really proud of that. When you think about our brand and what we stand for, as well as the fact that our main constituents are men, eventually we got to the point where we couldn’t ignore this glaring need in mental health. We felt like if we really wanted to make an impact with our 1% that it would be through serving men and their mental health needs. For reasons we all know, it’s difficult for men to talk about and get help. We also know the veteran community is disproportionately affected by issues related to mental health. It’s an epidemic that we felt needed to be addressed, and we wanted to make sure that 500,000 men in the next two years get access to mental healthcare. To that end, we were looking for a mental health organization that was serving the veteran population and Headstrong quickly jumped to the top of the list after we realized exactly what they do for veterans and their families. It’s what really stood out to us. It’s the holistic and direct impact they’re making on real lives that has us really excited to partner with Headstrong. The Veteran’s Day video we produced with Headstrong and Stop Soldier Suicide was an important social campaign with the ultimate goal of raising more awareness around the topic so that people would reach out to get help. The fact that 168% more veterans reached out to Headstrong following the campaign is something that we are particularly proud of. It’s great to give money when you have the capacity to give, but to promote storytelling that’s honest and real, that’s an opportunity we couldn’t pass up…” -Maggie Hureau

“We went into our social impact video feeling both excitement and pressure. It gave us an opportunity to shine a light on an issue disproportionately impacting veterans. But the challenge came from wanting to create a mental health video all veterans could relate to — without sacrificing the individual stories of everyone in our video. Miguel, Elana, and Chris all came from various backgrounds, with completely different experiences in service. But the connective tissue of their shared experiences came together so naturally in the end. I think a big part of that was because we handed them control. We wanted each of them to tell us how they wanted to be represented. What had all the other veteran stories gotten wrong? Thanks to their willingness to be open and honest about their mental health struggles, we ended up with something that felt authentic and relatable to their community. I really hope they know their words were like a call to action for so many of their fellow veterans who needed to hear their stories in that moment. All we did was roll the camera.” -Aimée Hunt
See the Headstrong and Harry’s collaboration video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3tpNmlCoJM

“I grew up in New York, my father was a teacher and when I was about 8 or 9 years old, he took me on a few trips to see one of his students who was attending the Coast Guard Academy. When the time came to pick a college, I was considering the various service academies and there was that seed of familiarity with the Coast Guard. I had options to choose from when picking a school, and the opportunity to serve after graduation was a driving factor in my choice. I spent the bulk of my six years in the Coast Guard serving as a Deck Watch Officer and Dive Officer on polar icebreakers. During that time I completed two extended deployments to Antarctica and two deployments to the Arctic. I was actually 30 miles from the North Pole when 9/11 happened, an event that impacted so many and changed what it meant to serve. The decision to transition from the Coast Guard wasn’t an easy one, but I was interested in starting a new chapter and separated to pursue a Masters Degree at the University of Georgia. At the time I would have said that my transition should have been as easy as anybody’s could be, I was separating on my own terms and starting a new career. But even after a relatively seamless shift, I found there was always something missing and it wasn’t until I got back to New York and connected with the local veteran community that I realized how important that sense of community, service and camaraderie was to my own mental well being. Mental health is a human condition, we all go through highs and lows and it’s important that we normalize conversations about the topic so that those in need of help are comfortable reaching out to get it. I have several close friends who deal with ongoing challenges as a result of their service and without access to quality help and support would be in a very bad place. Mental health impacts so many men, and veterans in particular. Harry’s partnership with organizations like Headstrong that are promoting the conversation around mental health and providing services and support to combat these issues is allowing us to have a positive impact on the customer base we serve. We realize how significant the challenge is for so many and that there is a need to enable resources and make it ok for men to have these discussions, especially in the veteran community. The ability to make a difference and unlock access to mental healthcare for hundreds of thousands means so much to me as a veteran and as an employee.” -Todd Adrian

Healing the hidden wounds of war