FRAN REICHERTER IS INSPIRING HER GENERATION WITH MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS, EMOTIONAL SUPPORT, AND EDUCATION.
By Jackie Menjivar
Warning: Content discussed addresses suicide.
As a child, Fran Reicherter’s self-described superpower was her writing and her desire to change the things she knew could be better in the world. Now, the 23-year-old founder and president of Inspiring My Generation, is using her platform to transform the way we talk about and cope with mental health challenges.
Through the encouragement card program, Inspiring My Generation is sending messages of love and support to people hospitalized in psychiatric facilities. Thousands of cards have been donated to help comfort patients on their paths to recovery. (Check out our coloring page in collaboration with Inspiring My Generation here)
A lot of this work is informed by Fran’s own experiences coping with loss, navigating the mental healthcare system, and surviving multiple suicide attempts. She’s taking the tools and resources that she learned on her mental health journey, and making them accessible to everyone.
We sat down with Fran to learn more about how she’s using awareness, education, and early intervention to save lives.
IDM: Would you mind sharing your own personal journey with mental health?
Fran Reicherter (FR): Inspiring My Generation actually started as a blog when I was 12. At that point in my life, I was already struggling with severe anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. It was a way for me to express my emotions, but then it became my hope that other people reading it would find some kind of inspiration within it.
I was absolutely terrified of failing and that just kept getting worse until the end of high school. My parents decided to separate, and my whole life just shattered. I’ve now attached the idea that my parents’ divorce was my own fault because I wasn’t good enough. My eating disorder got to an all-time high, and that was kind of the only sense of control in my life at that time.
I was really lucky because I had my grandparents, aunt, and uncle, who were really there for me during that time. When I was in college, my grandfather would FaceTime me for a cup of coffee every morning before class, when I’d walk home to my dorm, and over dinner. He always made sure that I felt important and I felt seen.
“My uncle was the one who really talked to me and supported me emotionally through it. For the first time it felt like maybe I was going to be okay, and he said that we were going to get through this together.”