The You Aren’t Alone Project (YAAP), a nonprofit based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, launched a virtual raffle fundraiser on May 18 benefitting mental health initiatives. The national raffle will run until 11:59 p.m. CST on June 2, 2021. All proceeds will benefit the project’s ongoing events, programs and initiatives.
The raffle kicks off the ceremonious relaunch of YAAP during Mental Health Awareness Month after over a year of uncertainty during the pandemic. The group also hosted their first in-person program since early 2020 with a series titled CBT & Coffee, led by Licensed Professional Counselor Brittany Hebert, highlighting the power of cognitive behavioral therapy to manage thoughts, emotions and behaviors. In addition, the project’s founder and executive director released a special episode of her podcast, Along the Gravel Road Podcast, with special guest Ryan Schwartz, founder of Mental Health Match, a national platform changing the way people find the right therapist.
Funds raised will help to facilitate the project’s future goals and expand outreach far beyond the Baton Rouge area with the ultimate goal of making mental health more accessible to everyone. Some of those initiatives include:
Additional restrictions may apply. For more information about the You Aren’t Alone Project virtual raffle, visit go.rallyup.com/yaapraffle or contact Chelsea Borruano at email@example.com.
Chelsea Borruano is a fun, passion-driven woman who has dreams and is a “doer” who will put the pedal to the metal to make them come true. She graduated from LSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication, concentration in Advertising. Through NYU’s online program she just recently decided to pursue her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling (you go girl!). She has a twin sister and is professionally trained in improv with LATCo (holla, go peep our last blog!). She has also done some stand up comedy (ayyee)! Traveling is Chelsea’s vibe and you can catch her on a flight if she isn’t working, or maybe she’s doing both #catchflightsnotfeelings. She has been to Spain, France, Greece, Scandinavia, Mexico, Colombia, all with her sister of course, and plans to visit Asia this November (can I be the third sister?)
We are highlighting her as the founder of the You Aren’t Alone Project, which was fueled and inspired by Chelsea’s own experience of pain, loss and triumph. Chelsea is a book of surprises, in addition to her previously mentioned pursuits, she works full time for MESH as Business Development Manager and serves on on several local boards including: Forum 225, Rotaract, PRAL, and BRAC Ambassador.
The You Aren’t Alone Project was founded in 2019 and is dedicated to forming a network of ongoing support for mental health and wellness in Baton Rouge and surrounding communities. This is done with the goal to ensure no one ever feels alone. The project, “exists to encourage understanding, erase stigmas, and to invest in building the right relationships that will continue moving this initiative forward.” The vision of the project is to be the platform that paves the way for mental and behavioral health in Louisiana and elevate the discussion to the same level in which physical health is acknowledged.
Purpose is what sets your soul on fire.
Her incredible support system, made up of her family, closest friends and co-workers, helps her in the midst of trials and challenges. She stresses the importance of her family and considers them to be her rock. They recently experienced the loss of their mom’s sister (nanny) to cancer. She shares that they are still healing but are in it together as a unit, which is important. She wakes up in the morning because of her purpose and this fuels her through the hard times. Chelsea shares her passion of, “ leaving [her] mark on this world by changing as many lives as [she] can for the better.” To the entrepreneurs in the house, Chelsea wants you to know You. Are. Not. Alone. You don’t have to do it alone, and don’t be afraid to ask your tribe for some help when you need it.
Chelsea appreciates with a full heart the opportunity to see others realize they are not alone. She shares that the feeling cannot be described when she sees her organization’s impact on individuals and the community. Looking to the future Chelsea wants to continue growing the non-profit and eventually offer programs as a licensed mental health counselor to those with little to no access to mental health services. What is her goal? “. . .to change the conversation around mental health on a national level and ultimately, change the world, or someone's world, for the better”(wow, speechless). To date, her proudest accomplishment is seeing her vision come to life at the YAAP first annual Live Art Event last summer, which will go down in history as one of the best of her life.
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by: Carly Laing
Posted: May 21, 2020 / 02:49 PM CDT / Updated: May 21, 2020 / 02:49 PM CDTBATON ROUGE, LA (BRPROUD) – May is Mental Health Awareness month, and a local woman is using her anxiety and depression to help others going through the same struggles.
Chelsea Borruano works in marketing, she’s a Louisiana native and a twin, she’s also one of thousands who struggle with mental health. “For 28 years I lived with something that I just couldn’t put a name to,” Borruano said. After years of fighting with herself she decided to get help. “I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.” She never knew so many others were battling the same struggles. “I shared my story, and it got a lot of really great feedback. So many people basically just told me thank you, I thought I was alone in this,” she said.
Her struggle inspired her to create the You Aren’t Alone Project, a non-profit that provides resources and support for people struggling with mental health issues. “The whole goal is really to build a community to support a community of mental health and wellness so that nobody here every has to feel alone,” Borruano said.
Now, in the COVID-19 era, her organization is needed more than ever. “I think it’s been completely vital right now more than we could have ever imagined,” she said. “So we’re going to try and keep that momentum going and offer resources that are very specific to what’s going on right now especially once we’re able to come together again.”
Her efforts aren’t going unnoticed. “It’s getting a little bit more comfortable, but I still think we need to change the conversation. So taking that a step further into talking about it more in a natural way to where you don’t feel uncomfortable opening up and then seeking help too,” she said. “I don’t feel uncomfortable going to the doctor if I’m feeling sick, but for some reason I feel uncomfortable going to see a therapist, so we want to make it more natural.”
She hopes to inspire others to seek help so that one day the stigma surrounding mental health will be gone.
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As much as social media conceals, it also reveals. Behind expertly edited photos, when people take to their feeds, they share pieces of themselves with their friends, family and audience, even if it is only slight. Usually, these digitally catalogued moments depict joyous times: weddings, anniversaries, holidays, birthdays. However, it’s no secret that there’s much more going on behind the scenes. Chelsea Borruano’s goal is to bring that to light.
Amidst a feed of Photoshopped smiles and filtered backgrounds, the business development director with MESH posted about her struggles with mental health and her continued journey to happiness. “The response was crazy,” she explains. “So many people thanked me for making them not feel alone. It made me realize how many people aren’t getting the help they need.”
While May is Mental Health Awareness Month, this year the topic carries even more weight, as COVID-19 has taken hold of normal life. With people living in nearly constant fear and anxiety about not only contracting or spreading the virus but also the fate of their jobs and futures, Borruano says it’s never been more important to reach out and support one another.
She founded the You Aren’t Alone Project last year with an event that now seems far from conceivable under social distancing guidelines. Inviting artists of all disciplines to share their mental health journeys through paint, dance, poetry and more, the July 2019 exhibition was a wake-up call for awareness in the local area.
“Art is a powerful tool,” says Borruano. The You Aren’t Alone Project uses artistic expression to help members connect with one another.
Live video recording for WAFB morning show
July 22, 2019 at 7:33 AM CDT - Updated July 22 at 7:33 AM
Baton Rouge -- The You Aren’t Alone Project presents it's first Live Art Event, in partnership with Aetna Better Health Louisiana, on July 26 from 7-11 p.m. at Mid City Ballroom, 136 S Acadian Thruway, featuring a culmination of stories from people that are living with, or supporting someone living with, depression and anxiety all interpreted by local artists through visual and performance art⏤the pain, the loss, and the triumph.
The You Aren't Alone Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to forming a social & physical network of ongoing support for mental health and wellness in Baton Rouge and surrounding communities so that no one ever has to feel alone. The project exists to encourage understanding, erase stigmas and to invest in building the right relationships that will continue moving this initiative forward.
Our vision is to be the platform that paves the way for mental and behavioral health in Louisiana to be treated and talked about in the same way as physical health.
This project will kick off the live art event with performances from Airseekers, Terreze Williams, Dane Monic, J Rees, Luisa Cantillo and more all interpreting stories through dance, music, acro movements, storytelling, poetry reading and so much more. These performances will also be translated into live art pieces by Jade Brady.
The space will be filled with visual art interpretations from talented local mixed media artists such as Cheri Fasy and Jade Brady, photographers, Chris Garcia and Jenn Ocken, sculptures by Betsy Seal-Eschete and Jennifer Carwile, paintings from Bibbit Robison, Lauren Clark, Tara Hebert and Lindsay Guidry, jewelry-making by Cabil Gibs and fiber art from Moon Dust Weavings.
We'll also be working with local behavioral health professionals such as Aetna Better Health Louisiana, Oceans Behavioral Health and Baton Rouge General to offer mental health resources and continue the conversation once we leave.
The event is free for ages 21 and older, however registration is required at youarenotaloneart.com/rsvp. Participants will enjoy small bites, drinks and entertainment throughout the night.
We are still looking for partners for the event, but, even more importantly, we'll need people to help us continue and expand on this project after the art show. You can learn more about the event at https://www.youarenotaloneart.com/.
Thank you to our partners, Aetna Better Health Louisiana, AIMCO, ISC, Mind Set Personal Training, JCW and HealthyBR.
Brian spoke with Chelsea Borruano to discuss the You Are Not Alone Project. The You Are Not Alone Project is a nonprofit organization focused on forming a social and physical support system for mental health in Baton Rouge. Chelsea talked about what the organization does and she explains what advancements they will make in the future. This project will kick off with a live art event held at Mid City Ballroom on July 26 from 7-11 p.m. Chelsea tells us that local artists will be there to interpret things such as depression and anxiety. They will also be working with behavioral health professionals to provide mental health resources. Hear the full interview here.
By Catherine Quant | June 7, 2019 at 10:34 AM CDT - Updated June 7 at 1:11 PMBATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A new Baton Rouge non-profit organization is kicking off a project surrounding the importance of mental health and wellness.
The You Aren’t Alone Project is dedicated to forming support groups for mental health in the Baton Rouge community. The project aims to show what living with depression and anxiety looks like and to treat mental health in the same way as physical health.
The project, partnering with Aetna Better Health, is kicking off with a live art show at the Mid City Ballroom on July 26. The event will include a variety of artists and stories of people living with depression and anxiety.
“It really did start off as just an event, a live art event, and now it’s become so much bigger than that,” said Chelsea Borruano, the event coordinator. “All the pieces are kind of like an interpretation of mental health struggles or stories that people have submitted about their journey through mental health.”
Local behavioral health professionals will also be available to offer mental health resources to attendees.
“The most important thing is I want everyone in that room to know when they leave there, that they are not alone in the struggle,” Borruano said.
The event is still accepting artist submissions and is looking for partners to help expand the conversation.
Country Roads Magazine: The YouAren'tAlone Project, Expressing the experiences of depression and anxiety through live art
What is remarkable about depression is that even though it affects over 18% of our population (forty million adults a year), the experience itself is remarkably isolating.
Baton Rouge's YouAren'tAlone Project hopes to break through that isolation, to talk about it in the open. For its inaugural event, a collective of local artists will present a body of diverse works depicting the stories of those suffering from anxiety and depression, literally showing what it looks like through visual, literary, and performing arts. Free for ages 21 and older. Refreshments will be provided. 7 pm–11 pm at Mid City Ballroom, 136 South Acadian Thwy.
By starting a conversation, the organization also hopes to start a community, a support network of survivors, those struggling, supporters, and everyone in between. Register for the Live Art Event, and learn more about the YouAren'tAlone Project at youarenotalone.com.
[Read more about the YouAren'tAlone Project in this story from our May 2019 issue.]