The Breathe Project

The challenge

For a myriad of reasons, so well explained here by The Blurt Foundation,  it can be so hard to ask for help when struggling with negative thoughts and low mood. The very act of reaching out to a family member or your GP can be a huge step. So when you’ve made that step and asked for help, it can feel distressing/humiliating/exasperating/exhausting to then simply be put on a waiting list.

In 2018, the British Medical Association warned of waiting lists of a minimum of 6 months for talking therapies for low-risk mental health challenges and even longer for more serious conditions. The alternative? Paying for private therapy – which is fine if you have the financial means, but what if you don’t? The door is closed, and few private practices offer a way in.

The Breathe Project

The Breathe Project was conceived as the first step in a mission to make a quota of pro bono talking therapy standard practice for private therapy. In short, to help a bit.

Inner Child by No More Shoulds is a social enterprise clothing line, profits from which fund the Breathe Project. The sale of every ten garments directly funds a private talking therapy session for someone who has plucked up the courage to ask for help, who desperately needs to make that next step, but simply can’t afford to pay for treatment. Working with local clinics, talking sessions and assessments are funded either via a silent benefactor donation or a more formal subsidisation arrangement.

Not only do the garments help others, they also provide a little bit of peace for the wearer. Each piece marks a point over the heart and over the belly – two places where we hold emotion – and encourages the wearer to simply connect with the present moment and breathe, to find a little bit of calm.