After losing several friends to suicide, 2019 journalism and mass communication graduate Brianna Curtis took on the mental health crisis young adults are currently facing. As she reflected on the conversation around mental health, she realized men are often ignored. To combat the stigma around men discussing their emotional health, Curtis founded The Heartfelt Club, a “health and wellness brand predicated on men’s mental health.”
The Heartfelt Club website features educational resources, brand ambassadors and an apparel store. The merchandise is designed by different artists and features a QR code that links back to the site. One apparel line features the statistic that men commit three out of every four suicides. All the money from the apparel funds The Heartfelt Club’s initiatives or is donated to relevant charities. So far, The Heartfelt Club has raised $2,000.
One project from The Heartfelt Club is the man of the month program. With this program, one man is selected and given access to free therapy for the month. Interested men can apply through a form in the brand’s Instagram biography. Curtis and the selected man discuss his journey every week on a podcast. According to Curtis, when men come to The Heartfelt Club, they’re often hesitant to start but open up when they share their story.
“The podcast is to normalize the conversation around mental health and show other men that men just like them are struggling as well, but they’re reaping the benefits from entering the therapy world,” Curtis said.
Curtis also facilitates The Heartfelt Clubhouse, where guests come on the show and have a general discussion about mental health as well as share their stories. Clubhouse is an audio online social app.
In the future, Curtis hopes to open a physical location that offers free counseling, warm food and a safe space. As an advocate for reducing homelessness, she aims to provide shelter and resources to those unable to get them.
Movember, a nonprofit focused on men’s physical and mental health, has worked with The Heartfelt Club for previous initiatives. Curtis hopes to establish The Heartfelt Club as its own nonprofit as the operation grows.
As a one-woman show, Curtis gets to see the impact of The Heartfelt Club up close and personal every day. According to Curtis, two lives have been saved so far by The Heartfelt Club.
“Being able to sit with them in those hard emotions and connect them to a true professional has been exciting. Even if this were to go under tomorrow, having done that, I have accomplished everything I need,” she said.