“Knowing that someone is experiencing similar issues makes you feel less alone and less isolated.”
The short film “Conversations with Friends” opens to the sight of a medical bracelet. Then you see bandages over wrists, sneakers dangling at the edge of a hospital bed, and scars and cuts.
Elyse Fox, the film’s creator, is then seen looking at herself in the mirror, asking, “How could I trick people for this long, and how could they not notice?” This theme of secrecy inspired the film and eventually led Fox to found Sad Girls Club, a mental health community for women.
“I created Sad Girls Club after my own lived experience with suicide and depression,” says Fox. “I wanted to create a space just for girls to have a place that felt like home within their mental health journey.”
The Film That Launched a Community
Fox’s eight-minute film juxtaposes quick shots of daily life—a concert, a card swipe to enter the subway, a friend waiting to cross the street—with a range of conversations with friends she says helped save her life.
Fox says the film was a way for her to break her silence about her depression. Mental health was not something discussed in her home, and she figured her moments of anxiety and depression were just a normal part of life. Finally, she set out to change that: “Something just clicked and I wanted to talk about it, and I just wanted to be real about it—for once.”
As personal as the project was, it resonated deeply with people beyond her own social circle. “I received just a wave of support from girls around the country and around the world that saw themselves in my story,” says Fox.
The Impact of Sad Girls Club
In response to the flood of emails Fox was receiving, she created an Instagram account called Sad Girls Club in Jan 2017. She let fans of her film know that this account would serve as a place for them to ask questions, connect with others, and get resources about mental health topics.
In addition to the Instagram account, Sad Girls Club met monthly in person. Fox would bring in a therapist or other mental health professional as a guest to provide free therapy for the attendees. The women can also discuss tools for living with depression, hash out problems they’re experiencing, or simply build friendships.
The events and the online community helped women open up about their mental health. “Just knowing that someone else is experiencing … similar issues to what you’re going through makes you feel less alone and less isolated,” says Fox, “and you’re able to support one another.”
“A lot of girls tell me that Sad Girls Club has helped them tremendously,” says Fox. Her assistant, who was 16 when she joined Sad Girls Club, told her that the community was vital to her completing high school.
Fox has even bigger goals for Sad Girls Club. “In five years, I want Sad Girls Club to be the rockstars of mental health. I want to go on tour and bring Sad Girls Club and the support to girls who don’t have access to resources,” says Fox. “I want to find girls before they know they need to find us, and be there at the first step.”
00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:03,136
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I think just knowing that someone else
is experiencing the same issues or
00:00:07,485 --> 00:00:12,048
similar issues to what you're going
through makes you feel less alone, and
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less isolated, and
you are able to support one another
00:00:15,375 --> 00:00:17,406
00:00:17,406 --> 00:00:20,390
00:00:20,390 --> 00:00:23,070
My name is Elyse Fox, and
I'm the creator of Sad Girls Club.
00:00:23,070 --> 00:00:27,710
I created Sad Girls Club after my
own lived experience with suicide
00:00:27,710 --> 00:00:28,240
00:00:28,240 --> 00:00:30,430
And I wanted to create a space just for
00:00:30,430 --> 00:00:35,460
girls to have a place that felt like
home within their mental health journey.
00:00:36,820 --> 00:00:40,860
I was really, really secretive
about my depression forever, until,
00:00:40,860 --> 00:00:45,020
I don't know, something just clicked,
and I wanted to talk about it, and
00:00:45,020 --> 00:00:47,810
I wanted to just be real about it for
00:00:47,810 --> 00:00:50,420
Having such a sweet and genuine soul
00:00:50,420 --> 00:00:51,347
00:00:51,347 --> 00:00:54,730
Has really inspired me and kept me
level headed throughout these years.
00:00:54,730 --> 00:00:58,390
Throughout the first year that I was back
in New York City, I just began having
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random conversations with my friends
about real stuff that's going on.
00:01:02,590 --> 00:01:06,560
I don't know what the hell's going on
with me, but I've just been in my head.
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Everybody gets blocked and you can't
feel crazy about getting blocked.
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It happens to everyone.
00:01:11,550 --> 00:01:16,050
Once the film was released,
I received just a wave of support from
00:01:16,050 --> 00:01:20,360
girls around the country and around
the world that saw themselves in my story.
00:01:20,360 --> 00:01:23,780
I created an Instagram page
called Sad Girls Club.
00:01:23,780 --> 00:01:27,350
And I just told everyone who was
emailing me to migrate there, and
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I will answer any questions on this page.
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And post anything they
wanted to learn about.
00:01:31,420 --> 00:01:35,610
If you wanted to learn about PTSD, or
schizophrenia, I'll find the resources,
00:01:35,610 --> 00:01:37,610
and I'll find the information for you.
00:01:37,610 --> 00:01:40,640
That happened in January of 2017,
and from there,
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the community has just been growing.
00:01:44,130 --> 00:01:52,354
00:01:52,354 --> 00:01:56,451
A lot of girls told me that Sad Girls Club
has helped them tremendously and
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just their mental journey and
just finding support.
00:01:59,490 --> 00:02:02,090
I actually found my assistant
through Sad Girls Club.
00:02:02,090 --> 00:02:05,700
She was 16 at the time when she
first started coming to meetings,
00:02:05,700 --> 00:02:09,570
and she said it was vital for
her finishing her high school career.
00:02:09,570 --> 00:02:15,940
We would throw monthly events where I
would bring in a therapist or a medical
00:02:15,940 --> 00:02:20,960
professional to help me facilitate and
give girls therapy for free.
00:02:20,960 --> 00:02:24,890
Now we throw events quarterly and I am
working on just growing the business and
00:02:24,890 --> 00:02:25,490
00:02:26,580 --> 00:02:32,780
I think that the Sad Girls Club
community is so important.
00:02:32,780 --> 00:02:36,370
I think people need someone to talk to or
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go to receive mental health resources
without having to go to a doctor.
00:02:42,740 --> 00:02:46,540
I think that this information should be
easily accessible and should be spoken
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about pretty freely the same way we talk
about sex, politics, fashion, and music.
00:02:51,170 --> 00:02:55,440
In five years, I want Sad Girls Club
to be the rock stars of mental health.
00:02:55,440 --> 00:02:56,820
I wanna go on tour and
00:02:56,820 --> 00:03:01,440
bring Sad Girls Club and the support to
girls who don't have access to resources.
00:03:01,440 --> 00:03:04,860
And I wanna find girls before they
know they need to find us and
00:03:04,860 --> 00:03:06,440
be there at the first step.