I disappeared and stopped writing in 2017. Part of the reason for that was I fell into a major depression after my grandfather died, school got stressful, and I was preoccupied with my latest project.
Earlier in the year I had begun volunteering in a Discord server aimed at discussing and supporting people with mental illness. I became a supporter and then a moderator, learning along the way. Eventually I decided I didn’t like how the server was being run so I left and a friend suggested that I make my own server. I thought, hey, why not, it can’t be that hard.
Little did I know that a year and a half later I would still be invested in this project.
The Haven is an 18 and up Discord server for people living with mental illness. We rely on volunteers who offer to support others through their trials and tribulations. It was important to me that the space remain focused on peer support, because I think it is essential to foster a feeling of camaraderie for people who so often feel unheard and misunderstood. So far we have been able to keep up with that goal.
Today The Haven Support is also a 501(c)3 organization, the focus of which is to raise money for people to receive private care when they need it and don’t have timely access to other resources.
I’ve also gathered 12.5k Instagram followers.
The server has 4k+ members.
Retreat has nearly 500 members.
The other neat thing is that my whole family seems to be involved. Mom has been very active on Retreat, helping to moderate and making friends and supporting. Dad is on the board and helped me get a pro bono legal team. Aunt has been helping with all the paperwork from the beginning and will also be on the board. I would like sister to be involved too.
The hardest part about running the Haven is not the operational stuff, but the fact that for the most part everything is anonymous. I’ve encountered more suicidal people than I can count at this point, and it’s heartbreaking to know we can only do so much to help, and beyond that…
Learning to distance myself from these events took the longest time. I now have a little bit of a clinical approach: I don’t take everything to heart. I can’t, or I’d get so overwhelmed that I wouldn’t be able to function.
I am so lucky to have had so much support from so many people. Thank you all.
And especially thank you to my Team on The Haven, who work tirelessly to make sure the server remains a safe place for the greatest number of people possible.