PurpleMent: the colour changing the world
The idea for this organisation began with the hopes of empowering the youth after a dark time in my life. I knew how alone and low that I felt, and it inspired me to want to become an advocate for mental health among the youth. I run the organisation along with three committee members: Sanjayah Allwood, Malaika Dowling and Kayuntae Ming.
We all have our own personal reasons for wanting to bring this vision to life, but the uniting force is the desire to be an active participant in the empowerment of young people in Bermuda.
Mental illness is vastly misunderstood by a majority of people, both young and old. The misconceptions and stigma surrounding this topic make it difficult for people to get help because of the shame involved. This is why I use our Instagram page (@purplement.media) to help raise awareness about different topics in an easy and comprehensible way to help reduce the stigma.
In addition to raising awareness about mental illnesses, I also use the page to promote self-care, affirmations and advice on how to improve mental wellbeing. It is truly such a rewarding experience to be in a position to help others, and to receiving anecdotes from people about how the page has helped them touches my heart because that is what PurpleMent is all about.
Another way in which we strive to empower the youth is through the motivational group chat that we run on WhatsApp. The group chat is run by Malaika, and she sends inspirational messages throughout the week, along with mental health check-ins from time to time.
Sometimes we all just need a little reminder to keep us going, and that is what this chat does. I didn’t realise the impact that this had until I ran into someone who told me about a time when they were having a breakdown, and then they saw the notification from the group chat — it was exactly what they needed to keep going. This just goes to show that sometimes all it takes is a small act of kindness to create big changes.
I have also had people reach out to me internationally from the group chat to ask for advice about problems that they are facing, and to my surprise it has had positive impacts in their lives. It never ceases to amaze me the impact that this organisation, founded on a small island in the middle of the sea, has been able to have on people not only from Bermuda, but around the world.
We also aim to empower the youth through a talk series that is “for the youth, by the youth”. Our most recent event, “Be Purple Event”, featured four speakers: Tiassa Mutunkei, Kayuntae Ming, MP Jamahl Simmons and myself. The goal of this event is to help give young people advice on how to pursue their own dreams and ambitions.
I felt that it was important to have young speakers because oftentimes adults come to share their own success stories, but this can feel very daunting and far away. Having youth speakers is a motivating factor in itself because it feels more attainable. We also like to have one older speaker, who is able to speak to the older members in the audience and encourage them to believe in the youth.
This organisation has given me a purpose in what I once felt was a purposeless life and in the process has shared this spirit with others. I am so grateful to have a team dedicated to trying to do our part to make our island and the world a better place.
Although I dreamt about it, I never would have imagined the impact that this could have when we held our first event in 2018. It is a constant reminder to me that you are never too young to make a difference, no matter where you come from or what you’ve been through.
I hope that we can continue to inspire and unite young people from across the globe with peace, positivity and the colour purple.