Orem man launches mental health community with emphasis on collaboration | News, Sports, Jobs


At one point, not too long ago, Kyle Flanagan apparently had a clear career path for him, having worked as a journalist for over 10 years. But then he lost his job due to personal issues.

He found a new job in events, marketing and communications in 2019, but a year later, in March 2020, he was laid off due to COVID-19-induced cutbacks.

Flanagan, 37, sat in his Orem kitchen with no work, no savings, and no idea where to go from there. He characterized it as another in a series of “rocky bottoms”.

While dealing with his mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, Flanagan used the time to speak with others facing similar issues. This acted as a sort of reset, allowing Flanagan to overcome initial difficulties in understanding and learning from others.

He said there was something to be said about being vulnerable with friends, family, or even complete strangers. This idea led to the creation of It Begins Today.

“My own journey and experiences with mental health over the past few years have been overwhelming to say the least,” said Flanagan. “It’s been a bit of a roller coaster and I’ve gone through the gamut that a lot of people are taking with drugs, a lot of self-medicating in unhealthy ways, and I’ve tried my own blog, social media and all of those. things to try to find an outlet to express what was going on in my head and my life. It has been successful to a point, but I have started to see here over the last six months that it is still difficult to be yourself when you are so focused on painting a trip. I began to realize that the highlights of my mental health journey so far have been when other people have collaborated with me When I shared they shared feedback and they shared their journey with that pure, genuine love and interest in someone else’s journey that was a two way street.

The idea behind this online community for those struggling with mental health issues was to see growth and development come about while being united with others on the same or a similar journey.

The website, scheduled to open on March 1, will allow people to discuss topics, share their journey, write blog posts, share personal experiences and more. Flanagan added that it will be a place for a normal traveling person to talk with other normal traveling people.

Website content will include a weekly podcast, a blog where anyone can submit content, as well as scheduled thematic posts.

Another aspect will be a store, featuring products with the organization’s brand, and a fundraising page. These donations will then be distributed to other mental health organizations, aimed at helping community members and those involved in other organizations.

One of the speed bumps that accompany conversations about mental health is the perception surrounding the subject. Flanagan added that people are realizing mental health issues are not going anywhere and others are seeing how mental health has been somewhat ignored.

This perception is starting to fade.

“It’s refreshing to see people rally around this and say, ‘Hey, this is real, this is deadly, and this is something that we can’t bury,'” said Flanagan. “We can’t put a stigma on it, we can’t put labels on it, we have to tackle it head-on, and I hope doing that with other people in a more collaborative community environment will really help.” to break through these constraints and preconceptions that people have about mental health.

The ultimate goal of the community is to create a space where people feel safe, which makes them comfortable to discuss these topics with others.

The website, with all it offers, is slated to launch on March 1, but Flanagan and others have been working to create content for the release. To learn more about the community or to contribute, contact Flanagan at [email protected] or visit itbeginstoday.org starting in March.

People are encouraged to reach out, contact, write, submit posts, or be guests on the podcast as part of a community effort.


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