May 2, 2021 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Haarika Kalahasti; Edited by Adya Kumar
Although COVID-19 has negatively impacted many small businesses, individuals have begun to step up to promote change. Another business that emerged during this pandemic is Supporting Smiles.
Supporting Smiles is an organization that aims to spread awareness and support those worried about mental health, incorporating aspects such as self-care, self-esteem, therapy, and more. The organization was founded in July of 2020 by 15-year-old Kaitlyn Vail from Ohio. Supporting Smiles is very personal to her, as she faced mental abuse by a parent in the past. Because of her bad mental state at the time, and the increased free time she had during the pandemic, Vail created Supporting Smiles as a coping mechanism for her situation and as a welcoming space for others struggling with their own mental health.
As of right now, Supporting Smiles is geared towards teenagers but is open to people from all walks of life. “We know social media can be very toxic and damaging for everyone, and it’s important for everyone to have a positive outlet like us, “ says Kaitlyn.
To spread this warm positivity and spread awareness of mental health, Supporting Smiles posts daily on their platforms (whether it be through a story, IGTV video, or post). They post about a variety of topics, including phobias, anxiety vs panic attacks, disorders, type personalities, and emotional states. What’s cool about their posts is that they are grouped by topic; for instance, for the personalities topic, they talked about all the different personalities throughout the week and moved onto another topic. These posts are not only super informational but also very aesthetically pleasing, so be sure to check back for a new post every day from them! Apart from these posts, Supporting Smiles is planning on having their own podcast and an IGTV series. Although the podcast is still in the works, Kaitlyn hopes that they can help people understand mental health on a deeper and more personal level by addressing topics, such as self-care, mental health, and self-diagnosis! As for their upcoming IGTV series called Stigma Saturday, they will be talking about stigmas in the mental health community relating to anxiety, depression, people of color, and more, with the help of guests and professionals. Interested? Stay tuned and check their Instagram page for updates on the release of the podcast and IGTV series!
Love it already and want to join their team? Supporting Smiles is composed of a team of hardworking, outspoken, and passionate people who are happy to be there and build on our positive environment”, Kaitlyn says. By joining their team, you get the opportunity to be surrounded by a positive group of people who are all focused on the same thing: advocating towards mental health. “You can meet so many people who share the same interest, and I’m really grateful for that”, Kaitlyn says. Unfortunately, team applications are currently closed, but be sure to email them about any openings and keep a close lookout on their Instagram for more information!
The Bizz USA recommends that you check out Supporting Smiles and utilize their resources! Their passion for advocating for mental health is something the world needs a bit more of, and it’s impressive to see young leaders like Kaitlyn Vail make a difference.
Check out Supporting Smiles here:
Extra Segment: Entrepreneur’s Corner with Kaitlyn Vail
A mini excerpt from the interview with the founder of Supporting Smiles Kaitlyn Vail (K), interviewed by Haarika Kalahasti (H), the Founder of The Bizz USA.
Q (H): “What has been your biggest reward and challenge with Supporting Smiles ?”
A (K): “My biggest reward has been seeing how people react to Supporting Smiles. It’s amazing seeing the welcoming environment and seeing people get helped by our posts. I get a huge smile when I see comments like “this helped me so much” or “thank you for posting this, I really needed this”. Those comments and messages are the best. It’s just absolutely amazing giving back because I started in a bad place and then I worked my way up helping others. Next, I would say my biggest challenge was pulling the different aspects altogether. It’s always developing and there’s always going to be new things that are introduced. It came from me learning how to use Canva in a day to make a few posts to an entire team of hard-working people. It’s quite crazy how it happened and the whole development was very hard, but there was a great outcome. “
Q (H): If you had to give advice to aspiring, young entrepreneurs, and business owners, what advice would you give?
A (K): Don’t give up and just keep going. Although this is very cliché, it really is very hard to gain the audience that you’re looking for and actually build up your organization. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. Not a lot of things are easy in life, so if you really want something, you really got to work for it. If you have that mindset and if this is something you want to work towards, go for it."