by Ryan Pierre
“Health is wealth,” that is how the saying goes. For the longest time, people have focused primarily on the physical aspect of wellness. But in recent years, individuals and groups have been more vocal about raising awareness for mental health. Despite this valiant effort, there is still a stigma surrounding discussion about mental health concerns and a disparity in accessible treatment options. To fight this disparity, Francesca Reicherter founded the nonprofit organization My Generation Corporation.
From a young age, Francesca Reicherter has used her voice to encourage her peers to live their life to the fullest and value kindness. At 12 years old, she started a blog titled Inspiring My Generation, where she wrote about how people her age can have a fulfilling life. During her high school years, the blog transitioned to a podcast.
Even as Francesca Reicherter encouraged living a balanced and well-rounded life, she experienced struggles with her mental health. In 2019, she attempted to take her life. She shares, “My uncle and godfather, Marc Taglienti, was able to talk me out of it. He supported me through this difficult time in my life, and he opened a conversation on mental health. I would not be here today if he hadn’t helped me.”
Little did she know that her uncle had struggles of his own. Just 27 days after he helped Francesca, he took his own life. “The person who gave me the strength to keep going ended his life, and it broke me. I ended up in the psych ward,” she recalls. It was there that she realized how many people were struggling. Francesca was unsatisfied with the support that the mental health system provided. “There wasn’t enough educational, emotional, and financial support. I decided I wanted to do what I can to bridge that gap. I wanted to be a voice for those who have lost loved ones to suicide, and those who are struggling but cannot speak up for themselves.”
To honor her late uncle, Francesca Reicherter launched Inspiring My Generation as a 501(c)3. “I launched this nonprofit organization on his birthday. I hope to support other people in the same way he supported me through my darkest hours,” Francesca says.
Since Inspiring My Generation Corporation’s establishment in March 2020, the organization has developed programs and initiatives that provide mental health education and support. This includes Normalize the Conversation, a podcast where individuals can share their stories to encourage discussion about different mental health-related topics. Another initiative is the Encouragement Card Program, where over a hundred handwritten cards are sent to patients in mental health institutions to offer encouragement and emotional support. The organization also launched the T3 Mental Health Grant to help alleviate financial barriers to treatment for individuals diagnosed with mental illness.