Don’t suffer in silence, get involved in The Beautifully Broken Project
A US citizen who has made Dundalk her home is encouraging people who have been affected by charity to get involved in The Beautifully Broken Project, which aims to raise suicide and mental health awareness.
Brittany McEnteggart, who is originally from New Jersey but has lived in Dundalk since 2010, has seen the impact of suicide first-hand having lost both her father and a number of friends to it.
Since starting The Beautifully Broken Project in 2014 she has been campaigning to make people more aware about suicide and how it can be prevented. Now the 25-year-old is calling for support to help grow the project further.
She said: “I started The Beautifully Broken Project in 2015 for Suicide & Mental Health awareness. It all began when I was in the Photographic Studies course in O Fiaich College. We had to take a series of images for an exhibition at the end of the year, in something that we had knowledge and passion for.
“The reason I chose the topic was because I lost my father to suicide in February 2009, as well as childhood friends a few years later, and also because mental health issues have affected my family for many years.
“Since I began my project, I have kept at it non stop doing all that I can to continue raising awareness. I began a Facebook page people can add to follow the project, as well as a like page.
“I advertise for people to come forward and get involved in the project that have been affected by mental health issues or for family and friends of those who lost someone to suicide to help raise awareness and show others they are not alone and that it is important to speak out instead of brushing it under a rug.
“I firmly believe that because there isn’t enough done about mental health issues that is why people are afraid to speak about it. There have been a lot of suicides in and around Dundalk and this is why now I feel it is so important to get people to hear about what im doing, and why they should get involved,” she said.
Brittany explained how the project works.
“When someone comes forward to want to be a part of the project, I explain what way it works. I take their photograph in a location of their choice and whether or not they wish to show their face in the photo, or if they wish to have their face hidden.. either of which is 100% fine.
“In the image I also draw a semi colon on the person, which represents the battle with mental health. It means where a sentence could have ended, but didn’t, so in the image it stands for where the person’s story could have ended, but didn’t.
“They then send me their story and together with the story and photo I upload them onto social media and it helps others see they are not alone, and how they can raise awareness and help others.
“The support people receive from sharing their stories is amazing and anyone who has been a part of my project would be able to tell you that. I too have shared my own story, so that those involved can read why I’ve chosen this subject to raise awareness and that I am not just some random person doing this, that I have been affected and I understand the issues.
“Aswell as the Facebook pages, I started a Facebook group page where people can come to talk to each other or privately mail myself or the other admins if they need help or advice in a situation or just to talk in general.
“I also have a video on YouTube explaining what my project is, the link to that can be found on my like page on Facebook.”
Brittany also explained how she plans to grow The Beautifully Broken Project.
“I would like to begin having group meetings in person so that people can come to listen to others talk, meet myself and understand what it is im trying to do. I also wish to maybe go into some schools in the future and talk to students in secondary schools or colleges to raise awareness on the topic. The more people who aren’t afraid to talk about it, the better.
“I am working really hard to get more and more people involved in what I am doing and to hear about my project, I feel like more people should be aware of it.
“Losing my father has fuelled me to continue being the voice for the people who are suffering in silence, and it has helped me cope with losing my father. I am hoping that by reading this story more people will come forward to help me help others and that I can help save even one person’s life or help even one person understand a little better why a loved one may have taken their own life. The town of Dundalk needs to hear about what I’m doing, suicide is becoming something that’s happening all too often, and something seriously needs to be done about it.”
You can can follow the Facebook page for The Beautifully Broken Project here.