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The Anthem Awards and Social Innovation Summit Honor Life-Saving Collective, Hope For The Day

Selected by the Anthem and Social Innovation Summit teams, Hope For The Day was honored with the inaugural Social Innovation Anthem Award for their relentless efforts toward suicide prevention.

The fight to end suicide starts with empowering conversations around mental health. In recognition of their transformative work toward suicide prevention, The Anthem Awards was honored to present the Chicago-based organization Hope For The Day (H.F.T.D.) with the inaugural Social Innovation Anthem Award at the 2024 Social Innovation Summit in Chicago, on Tuesday, June 4th!

An annual convening of the world’s top social impact leaders, we were thrilled to attend and champion H.F.T.D.’s work of developing life-saving mental health resources. Webby Group President, Claire Graves, made remarks on the undeniable impact of their work across Chicago and the importance of elevating their advocacy to inspire others to get involved.

“On average, 130 people are lost to suicide each day in the United States. Over 700,000 suicides are reported this year, with many more going unreported,” said Graves. “Hope For The Day is working in the city and beyond to educate individuals about the crucial importance of mental health.”

“Hope For The Day is working in the city and beyond to educate individuals about the crucial importance of mental health."

H.F.T.D.’s programs range from igniting dialogue through grassroots outreach in local communities to educating community members on how to care for mental health, and helping individuals take action toward proactive prevention. In addition, they use 100% of the proceeds from their coffee shop, Sip of Hope, to power their initiatives.

“The Anthem Awards are proud to partner with the Social Innovation Summit this year to present the first-ever Social Innovation Anthem Award to Hope For The Day,” said Anthem Awards’ General Manager, Patricia McLoughlin. “Hope For The Day is doing incredible work destigmatizing mental health, providing resources to anyone in need, and reminding their community that ‘it is okay to not be okay.’”

The moment was a fitting celebration of their tireless fight to embrace and prioritize mental health. We spoke with Benjamin Kohn, Interim Executive Director of H.F.T.D., to get a close look at their groundbreaking work and understand what fuels their fight.

Read on for insight into how they wield community in their work and how they’re shifting the culture surrounding mental health one cup of coffee at a time.

Can you tell us a bit about your current programs?

Hope for the Day empowers the conversation around proactive suicide prevention and mental health education through three primary pillarsoutreach, education and action.

Our outreach is predominantly done at community-centered experiences such as concerts and events, coffee shops and even through distributing our mental health resource cards. These resources help individuals identify how to be supportive, how to ask for help, and what hotlines are available to support themselves or a community member who may be struggling.

We teach in schools, universities, and workplaces spanning across 40+ neighborhoods in Chicago. Our work and materials are inspired by lived-experience, and endorsed by Hope For The Day’s Clinical Oversight Committee. This programming provides tools for early recognition and intervention to disrupt the highest risk factors for mental health crises and suicide. The Things We Don’t Say is our signature mental health program, but we are always creating and expanding our programs to fit what our audiences need to be successful in their communities.

We do this work with the goal of inspiring positive action—most notably within individuals to take steps toward destigmatizing their own mental health, but also within the communities through our Partners in Prevention, and municipal proclamations. These are groups of people or communities dedicated to collectively reducing stigmas around mental health and encouraging proactive suicide prevention.

Photo credit: Hope For The Day

What inspired the organization to open Sip of Hope? How has this space impacted your community?

Sip of Hope serves as a brick-and-mortar representation of the work our organization does each day to destigmatize conversations about mental health and suicide. It is a space where people can show up as they are, and be encouraged to start or deepen their mental health journey without fear of being judged. The shop has allowed us to extend our resources and messaging to our community in Logan Square, and we’re looking forward to doing the same at our next location in Hyde Park. Each Sip of Hope site has a resource wall that details where folks may find help, and all of our baristas are mental health first aid trained. Sip is a safe and supportive place in the community that just happens to make great coffee.

How can someone seek help if they are struggling with their mental health? What services and resources do you offer to those in need?

We begin many conversations by reiterating “It’s ok not to be ok”, listening, and reminding people that they’re not alone in their experiences. Suicide prevention is about a lot more than just being connected to crisis resources. It’s also about finding community and connection with others. We have educational materials dedicated to starting a conversation and letting people know what resources are available to help. I like our resource compass tool—it allows you to search any US zip code for a variety of services in the area, including sliding scale therapy services.

Hotlines can offer support to an individual experiencing emotional distress, but they are also available to assist people who are supporting someone in crisis. The Crisis Text Line (741741) and Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (988) are popular options, but we encourage people to find the hotline that works best for them and their individual needs.

Photo credit: Hope For The Day

What does it mean to receive the Social Innovation Anthem Award?

To me, this award is just a validation of what I’ve been saying for years, first as a board chair and now as our Executive Director—we have the best staff in the world. They are able and willing to do the hard work day after day, and support one another as we support our community. It’s an honor to be nominated and receive this award—I’m proud to highlight the folks who truly earned it.

All Anthem Award Winners deliver a ‘Call to Action Speech.’ What is yours? 

“Over 700,000 suicides are reported each year, with many more going unreported. Despite the things we’ve been through, it’s okay  not to be okay. Have Hope.”

 

If you are creating initiatives that tackle society’s most pressing issues in unique ways, amplify your work in The Anthem Awards. This year, we have implemented new honors to recognize Grassroots Effort, Nonprofit Leader, Peer-to-Peer Campaign and more, in addition to our existing categories.

Enter the 4th Annual Anthem Awards by the Final Entry Deadline on Friday, July 12th. 

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