I lost my younger brother to suicide in August 2019. For those who have lost a loved one to suicide, it is extremely isolating and difficult to heal because of the existing stigma on the topic and the lack of understanding of mental health in our culture.
In the months after my brother passed, I came across an article on the concept of Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation (DTPS), a technique often used by occupational therapists where pressure is applied to the body to produce a calming effect - like the feeling of being hugged. I read all about weighted products which utilize DTPS and provide a sense of relief for those who are experiencing stress, anxiety or insomnia. This is how my boyfriend and co-founder Martin Jimenez and I came up with the idea to start The Blankery in October 2019, an online shop that would sell our signature product: The Weighted Beyond Blanket - a product that fully utilized DTPS and has been shown to have a positive impact on our customers’ quality of sleep and consequently, their waking lives.
I didn’t realize that what started out as a small side business selling weighted blankets would turn out to be the means through which I would connect with others undergoing all kinds of mental health issues or trauma, and where we could talk freely about loss, healing, and moving forward. From the beginning, it was our simple goal to make weighted blankets readily available here in the Philippines for those who needed it. However, it has been almost a year since we founded this business and we have realized that while helping individuals is incredibly rewarding, there is much work to be done to spread the importance of mental health on a larger scale, particularly in light of the rising number of suicide rates in the country, especially among the youth.
September is World Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. As a show of our support, The Blankery has collaborated with another local shop The Dye Lounge to create the Angel Collection - named in honor of my late brother Angelo. The collection is comprised of a variety of hand-dyed yellow blankets since yellow is the designated color for the cause.
As this is deeply important and personal to us, we are committed to advocating for and contributing towards suicide prevention, mental health awareness, and support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. For every product sold from the Angel Collection, we will donate 10% of the proceeds to The National Center for Mental Health which offers free preventive, curative and rehabilitative mental health care services.