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.