Label volunteer, Leah Langley, shares which two women inspire her, in particular their advocacy of mental health, in light of International Women’s Day.
Whilst there are many women in the world who are inspirational in their own ways, two major inspirations for me are Jazz Thornton and Genevieve Mora.
Jazz is a 25-year-old director, speaker, author, and mental health activist from New Zealand. After spending much of her life battling various mental illnesses, she has devoted her life to creating change in the mental health community and speaking hope to millions of people around the world. As the youngest New Zealander to win the Doc Edge pitching contest, Jazz released a web series titled: ‘Jessica’s Tree’ and she was also the subject of the 2020 feature film: ‘The Girl on the Bridge’. She also published a book: ‘Stop Surviving, Start Fighting’, which focused on how she turned her life around. She has won numerous awards for her mental health advocacy and recently became a semi-finalist for Young New Zealander of the Year.
25-year-old Gen spent the majority of her teenage years battling mental illness before making it her mission to offer hope to those fighting mental illness. She helps others to open-up about their own struggle with mental illnesses that still carry a stigma and works to ensure that people don’t feel alone in their battles. Earlier this year, she co-released the ‘Love Your Kite’ app which aims to help those struggling with eating disorders address their thoughts in an artistic way.
Together, Jazz and Gen co-founded Voices of Hope, a global, non-profit, mental health organisation that is dedicated to showing those battling mental health issues that there is hope and recovery is possible. They also launched ‘Messages of Hope’, an app that shares hopeful messages with its users to remind them that recovery is possible. They co-produced a video: ‘Dear Suicidal Me’ together which has since had over 80 million global views, and they have spoken at many school and events across New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Earlier this year, the pair also released ‘My Journey Starts Here’, which is a guided journal that allows individuals to approach their mental health and well-being in a creative way, using some of the tools that they both did during their battles. They both have a large social media following where they continue to spread awareness of resources for their followers.
Despite all their accolades and their well-known names, the reason that these two women are my inspirations is because they gave me people that I could relate to. They don’t sugar-coat the recovery process and talk openly about the struggles that many people face. In a world where we are often only privy to ‘highlight reels’, they are not afraid to speak the truth about the dark sides of mental health. Along with sharing their own stories, they inspire others to speak their truths and fight their battles head on.
Header designed by Annabel Smith, Assistant Head of Design
Edited by Uchenna Omo-Bamawo, Label Culture Editor