Mental health is health. How are you really? This phrase is core to the Speaking Grey mission, started by changemaker Aditi Joshi. While 1 in 5 live with mental illness, 5 in 5 have mental health. Nearly two-thirds of people who struggle with mental illness never seek professional support.
Speaking Grey is a community-based non-profit that focuses on creating awareness, educating, and providing support for mental health and emotional well-being. By catalyzing conversations about physiological well-being, Speaking Grey aims to improve the “grey issues” in one’s life. With over 150 volunteers spanning all over the globe, the non-profit provides support for young adults. She always saw herself as a changemaker, and “came to [the] realization that impact and entrepreneurship go hand in hand if one would be willing to have the bias toward action.”
Aditi was born and raised in the Himalayan foothills in India. As a self-proclaimed “mountain kid,” most of her days were full of exploring nature, meditating and hiking. Despite being a mountain kid at heart, Aditi wanted to focus on her education, leading her to move to the bustling city of Mumbai, India, to pursue her engineering degree at the University of Mumbai. Aditi attributed both places to help bring “unique and incredible opportunities to her.”
From Struggle to Passion-Driven Purpose
Aditi has experienced depression and anxiety, and after an emotional breakdown in 2019, she started a quest for “self-help” to improve her mental well-being.
“I was able to acknowledge my lived experience with depression and anxiety. What started as a quest for self-awareness, self-help and a desire to learn more about mental health turned into this passion-driven project which connected me to fellow mental health advocates and the community at large.”
Aditi realized how many people were looking for a safe space to find resources, hope and a community. Her strategy to promote a positive change in mental health involves breaking the stigma around asking for help. Aditi has noticed that her peers often have trouble asking for this help when they’re mentally struggling. One student, who has attended multiple Speaking Grey events writes that
“The journeys and recovery stories taught me that seeking help and treatment is important. Speaking Grey is a safe and the best platform to learn (and unlearn) and get educated on these issues that people neglect.”
Embracing Support in Boulder, Colorado
Not only is Aditi making an impact in communities globally, but she is doing so right in the heart of Boulder. Her work in Mumbai with Speaking Grey secured her a fellowship with the Watson Institute. Aditi was part of a four-month accelerator program, Watson Accelerator, for global changemakers. The program is designed for impact-driven entrepreneurs to elevate their ventures to the next level. Aditi made valuable connections for her non-profit and loved the mountains that Boulder has to offer, so she decided to stay after her fellowship to pursue her MBA. Now she focuses on strategy and entrepreneurship in Boulder, and is even on the organizing committee for the Dean’s Scholars Program at the Leeds School of Business.
A Vision for the Future
Currently, Aditi has her eyes on bigger and better plans for Speaking Grey. She is in the process of creating a specific support network for international students. Because of her lived experience with depression and anxiety, Aditi has a unique understanding of the guidance that these international students need in terms of mental health, and wants to make sure that Speaking Grey can offer assistance. Aditi says that
“It can be a very rewarding and meaningful experience if you’re ready to be vulnerable and to adapt. Humility, empathy, and consistency definitely go a long way and will help you to meet people who will continue to be your cheerleaders!”
As Speaking Grey continues to grow, so does its support system. Seventy percent of Speaking Grey event and program attendees volunteer to spread the message of increasing mental health awareness.
Interested in joining the journey to show that #mentalhealthmatters or find resources? Everything you need can be found on the Speaking Grey website. With lists of affordable mental health professionals, self-help activities, blogs and more, there is something for everyone to utilize at Speaking Grey. Through continued education and support anyone can join the conversation and promote mental health awareness. Mental health is health. How are you doing?