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Despite our increasing awareness and acceptance of mental illness in today’s society, we have yet to develop a language that enables us to speak openly and compassionately to those who are suffering.

Two Australian sisters, Trudy and Sam, intend to change that.

When the son of Sam’s close friend attempted suicide, Sam found herself at a loss for words. As a psychologist, she knew what she could do to support her friend practically. She asked her friend how he was sleeping and checked in on the level of care and treatment he was receiving. She said she was sorry and asked if there was anything else she could do to support him. She wanted to send a card – at which point she realized that she had never seen a card about mental illness.

Shortly after this incident, Sam herself was hospitalized with mental health issues. During her stay on a psychiatric ward, she noticed that very few of the other patients received cards or flowers.

She became determined to change that.

Sam recruited her sister Trudy – a graphic designer – to help her. Today, the Booker sisters create and sell mental health support cards from their online shop, to help people show support for loved ones struggling with mental illness.

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Each card is written by Sam while Trudy, a graphic designer, creates all the illustrations and designs. Currently, the range of cards focus on anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, and each card comes with a pamphlet suggesting how to support someone struggling with a mental health problem.

Another aspect that makes these cards so unique is that they don’t shy away from using humor – helping to break the sense of taboo around mental illness.

The website is also a wealth of information. A blog provides information on different issues, from the importance of sleep to perfection paralysis. After you purchase a card, a $1 donation is made to the not-for-profit organization Black Dog Institute to help support the important research, clinical services, and education programs.

And while the sisters are currently based in Australia and their cards are created there, the cards can be shipped all around the world.

Read more from Nicole at kindersleysocial.ca/nicole

*Hope Street Cards Logo Courtesy of Hope Street Cards