Fairfield women start businesses to promote mental health awareness
Three Fairfield women have turned their mental health struggles into positive efforts to help others like themselves.
"I have to find an outlet to help myself, or I am going to die. That's literally how I felt," said Ellie Haney, from Fairfield.
Haney started going to schools such as Fairfield University to share something that had been haunting her.
"It was really difficult for me, my mental health struggles," said Haney.
She wanted to do more.
So, with the help of her good friend Emma Kilbride, who also struggles with mental health, together they started a clothing business.
"Something we've always said to one another whether it's via text, call, in person is I'm here for you," said Haney.
Their clothing line is appropriately called Here For You, designed to provide physical and mental comfort.
"It's really just so important to us to let people know that they aren't alone and to break the stigma," said Kilbride.
Gilly Orben, from Fairfield, also started a local business during the COVID-19 pandemic to raise awareness about mental health.
It's an organic flower business called Seeds to Blooms.
"I wanted to get flowers that you really wouldn't see in a grocery store," said Orben, 21.
Orben has sold hundreds of arrangements, spreading joy and love. She says the business may have saved her life.
"I've struggled with various mental health problems all throughout my life - so anxiety, OCD and depression you know they fluctuate. Some days are better, some days are harder, but for me gardening became sort of a coping mechanism," said Orben.
The two businesses will be teaming up next Thursday from 1-6 p.m. at Reef Shack in Fairfield for a pop-up event.
"They started these businesses on their own and taken all their strengths and found their niche and are running with it," said Bridget Lesizza at Reef Shack.
A portion of everything they sell next week will go back to support mental health resources.