Since Kenneth Cole launched the Mental Health Coalition and the #HowAreYouReallyChallenge last week to help end stigma for all mental health conditions, more boldface names have stepped up to participate in the initiative, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Gov. Cuomo, who is Cole’s brother-in-law, has been a key figure in navigating the coronavirus pandemic as New York has been the United States’ hardest hit state. And while he has been heralded as both an effective leader and a pillar of strength during the global health crisis, he wasn’t afraid to reveal the state of his own well-being.
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“I’m sad for the number of New Yorkers who have died because of this awful virus,” he said in an Instagram video. “And I’m sad about the pain that so many families now feel.” He added, “I live by the rule that you will never solve a problem that you are unwilling to admit… The more openly we acknowledge our mental health crisis, the better we will all be.”
Kendall Jenner was the first A-list name to team up with Cole on the #HowAreYouReallyChallenge, which encourages people to come together to discuss mental health in an open way. She jumped at the opportunity to share her own story about anxiety as well as open up about her experience in isolation during COVID-19. The model then challenged sister Kim Kardashian West and friends Justin and Hailey Bieber to acknowledge how they are really feeling, too.
How are you, really? I am proud to stand with @kennethcolereal and The Mental Health Coalition, to end the stigma against mental health conditions. It is important, now more than ever, that we come together to promote acceptance and inspire hope. Together, and only together, we can make a difference in millions of lives. Please join me, and share how you are, really. #howareyoureallychallenge @mentalhealthcoalition @howareyoureally i nominate @kimkardashian @justinbieber @haileybieber @jenatkinhair ❤️ tell us how you’re feeling
A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner) on May 15, 2020 at 5:30am PDT
“This time has been mentally challenging, but it’s all going to be okay,” Kardashian West shared.
.@the_mhcoalition wants to end the stigma against mental health conditions. It is important, now more than ever, that we come together to promote acceptance and inspire hope. Together, and only together, we can make a difference in millions of lives #HowAreYouReallyChallenge pic.twitter.com/GPgSDuwlSL
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) May 15, 2020
For their part, the Biebers said they experienced a mixed bag of emotions: Hailey described how she’s been feeling scared and nervous about the future while Justin explained, “there are days where I feel super encouraged and feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and there are days where it’s like ‘when is this going to end?'”
Through Cole’s Mental Health Coalition, those seeking help will be able to utilize the online platform and its resources from partners, such as The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Bring Change to Mind, Child Mind Institute, Crisis Text Line, JED Foundation, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and The Trevor Project.
“This is so far beyond than anything I could have imagined,” Cole told FN. “Mental health affects everyone. At the end of this process, you’ll see that people will reach a comfort zone and will make it more much acceptable to talk about mental health. That’s the plan.”
Others supporting the cause have included designer Donna Karan, Whoopi Goldberg, Kesha, Chris Cuomo and more. Scroll through the videos to see what they had to say about mental health.
HOW ARE YOU, REALLY? I have joined @kennethcolereal and the @mentalhealthcoalition to raise awareness for Mental Health Awareness Month by honestly answering the question: How are you Really? Now more than ever it’s important that we come together to promote and inspire hope for those struggling with how they are feeling. Together we can make a difference in millions of lives. I invite you to share your journey and end the stigma against mental health conditions. I nominate @demimoore @verawang @drjashton @zainabsalbi @colleensaidman @rodneyyeeyoga and ALL of you @mentalhealthcoalition @howareyoureally @urbanzen #howareyoureallychallenge
A post shared by Donna Karan (@donnakaranthewoman) on May 15, 2020 at 2:16pm PDT
A post shared by WhoopiGoldberg (@whoopigoldberg) on May 15, 2020 at 9:51am PDT
A post shared by Kesha (@iiswhoiis) on May 15, 2020 at 4:22pm PDT