In March 2021, Sydney Craig began her online clothing company to promote mental health awareness.
Sydney shares with our RHI community about her passion and another way she supports mental health outside of her role as a therapist.
“The topic of mental health can make many people uncomfortable. Unlike physical health, mental health isn’t discussed often, and there continues to be a negative stigma that surrounds it. Millions of people have a diagnosed mental illness, yet, unlike physical health, there is shame and guilt that comes along with mental health.
In August 2020, I graduated from North Dakota State University with my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Not long after, I was accepted into a graduate program at the University of St. Thomas where I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in mental health counseling.
I have been extremely passionate about making mental health a bigger discussion and one that isn’t uncomfortable to talk about. The idea for this clothing company came to me over time. I knew I wanted to make an impact but didn’t know the magnitude to which I could, or if it was even possible.
The meaning behind the company is to create light out of the darkness. The darkness can be overwhelming and seemingly never-ending. My vision and hope are to use clothing to promote awareness and donations to continue the conversation.
Too often, people are dismissed as attention-seeking or feel too ashamed to tell someone how they feel that they suppress their emotions and compartmentalize their pain. Mental health was rarely talked about when I was growing up, and it wasn’t until I graduated high school that I realized how many people struggle but feel too embarrassed to reach out for help.
I know several people who struggle with their mental health daily. I want to end the stigma and create a welcoming and judge-free environment where everyone is accepted, and everyone’s feelings are validated.
Fortunately, I have had a great support system to help me along the way. I started the company in March of 2021, which was right in the middle of the pandemic. The pandemic did create some obstacles but starting during that time ended up being a blessing in disguise. Many of us were isolated, and have been isolated, however, with Create Light being an online company, I could support people from anywhere.
It has become an amazing, supportive community of people who can really lean on one another. We want to create a conversation in which everyone who struggles with a mental illness feels heard and supported, which is why once a week, we post blogs where we talk about a wide variety of topics.
A foundational part of this clothing brand is the organizations that will be supported when clothing is purchased. For every apparel item purchased, 10% of the proceeds are donated each month to different mental health organizations.
We aim to support a wide variety of causes, which is why we will even allow the customers to choose which organizations they would like us to support. In addition, we collaborate with local artists to create beautiful artwork that is featured on the clothing.
We want to work with individuals who support our vision – some may even have backgrounds that support our cause.”— Sydney Craig