Graduate steps up for mental health awareness - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Graduate steps up for mental health awareness

1 Aug 2018

Do you feel like sporting a pair of peaceful Pete, courageous Charlie, focused Freddy or motivation Mary socks today?

That’s the question USC graduate Carissa Belham hopes every Australian will one day ask in her quest to lift the lid on mental health, while giving more comfort for both the sole and the soul through her business Mind Socks.

Carissa, 30, of Upper Kedron, came up with the idea for Mind Socks after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and working in a high-pressured sales environment.

“Part of my recovery included doing art therapy, and I just started creating visual journals which led to designing these socks,” she said.

“Mental health doesn’t discriminate and I wanted to give back in some way by encouraging people to start having the conversation around this at times taboo topic.”

Sales of the colourful socks kicked off last year, with Carissa and business partner Mila Dhurbarry donating 10 percent of profits to mental health charity Grow.

The duo now regularly attends trade shows to promote their product.

“Fifteen retailers picked us up from a show in Melbourne and they were mostly from rural areas that connected to the mission behind the brand,” Carissa said.

“We also had Mental Health Australia approach us to provide socks for national politicians during Mental Health Week.”

Carissa said the skills and knowledge she gained from her combined Arts and Business degree at USC had significantly helped her business get to where it is today.

“I only did a minor in graphic design but that assisted so much with creating so many different concepts and designing the website,” she said.

Carissa said she hoped to mentor others as her business expanded.

“I would love to work with students and even those who have had a mental health experience,” she said. “It’s important to show them they can be valued just as much as anyone else and achieve things.”

— Michelle French

USC graduate Carissa Belham displays some of her Mind Socks

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