As our club and community began to grow larger in the last couple of years, our ability to successfully embark on different initiatives expanded. With the growing members and ongoing support, we have been able to not only host various fundraising events, collaborations with professors, practitioners or other clubs, and more, but even launch our very own merchandise, which is a fundraising initiative in it of itself! In the fall of 2021 several members from our executive and general positions decided to create merch from our club so that we can not just show support in mental health discussion online, but physically as well. On top of this, be able to provide a piece of ourselves to be carried around with others anywhere they go. Creating clothing that touches on aspects of mental health was our attempt to empower people through their mental health journeys and become more confident expressing themselves physically, in any way related to this topic.
Due to our club being a non-for-profit association, we saw an opportunity with this to raise funds that we can donate to our communities, specifically, towards our ongoing FemiCare initiative that gives any proceeds raised to Toronto women’s shelters. We only hope to continue to be able to raise funds for this project, so that our contributions can help as many people as possible.
When 2023 was right around the corner, several other executive members decided it was time to launch our Merch 2.0, but with a completely new club custom design. This is where we took the opportunity to be creative as possible and design an image completely from scratch, something that embodied and represented who were were as a club within. We aimed to keep things not only related to mental health, but neutral and trendy! Our newest design is a light cream colour clothing, with our club’s logo embroidered in the front, with the quote “YOU FEEL WHAT YOU FEEL AND IT’S OKAY”, in a retro font, while surrounding a kawaii cute culture inspired bear in the middle, holding a semicolon sign and a heart on top of its head. The most unique part is every element in the design was chosen on purpose as it carries a deeper meaning in relation to mental health. The quote is to remind you that every feeling you have is valid, whether that is happiness, stress, sadness, excitement, anger and so forth. The bear representing strength, confidence, self-healing, grounding, appreciation of the sweetness of life, peace, and determination to overcome any hurdle thrown your way. The heart to remind you to love yourself and there is always love around you. And lastly, the semicolon as it is a symbol of mental health, specifically to represent and share personal strength to overcome internal struggle. This means anyone can raise awareness of suicide prevention, depression, substance use, diminish mental health stigma and inspire strength in the midst of suffering. We wanted the merchandise to feel cozy, warm, peaceful, welcoming and comforting, and that is why light cream and brown tones with soft pink accents were chosen along with the quote and mentioned elements of the design.
Our goal is to only be able to continue releasing new merch as the years go on so that we can be able to create even more memorable impacts on our communities—mental health, University of Toronto, Toronto and online! We thank you for being a part of our mission and supporting us along the way, we could not be more grateful for you. We hope we make your day just a little brighter and of course love your UOFTMHA merch as well!
University of Toronto Mental Health Association