AJ here, Co-founder of WriteUp.
Our story began a few years ago when I lost my older sister to suicide. It was the end of a long spiral that opened my eyes to how broken the mental health system is in the United States. One of the hardest challenges I faced during that spiral was the feeling of personal powerlessness. As part of my grief process, I sought to identify what could have been done to affect the outcome. While the majority of the blame could be laid at the foot of institutional failures, none of those findings provided comfort or a sense of personal agency. Frustrated and angry at the lack of answers, I shelved the project and refocused on finishing a long overdue bachelors degree at Point Loma Nazarene University.
Then, a few months ago, I stumbled across an article by Jason Cherkis in the Huffington Highline titled “The Best Way to Reduce Suicide.” It turns out, a scientist by the name of Jerome Motto, way back in the 1970s, discovered that the best way to reduce suicide risk was surprisingly simple. Tell people that you care, do it in writing and do it often. In a landmark study conducted over 15 years, Motto found that receiving handwritten letters from a doctor significantly reduced a patient’s risk of committing suicide. This reduction cut across all other factors such as mental health age, etc. How is it, I asked myself, that such a simple solution discovered decades ago never gained traction?
Fast forward to today. In our digital world, we have grown more connected yet less mindful and intentional than ever. People have tons of friends, yet lack deep meaningful relationships built on love and commitment over time. Personal letters have been replaced with email and social likes that lack the nuance and individual appeal to provide fulfillment and a sense of true worth. Letter writing it seems is in need now than ever before.
From this idea, WriteUp was launched. To help turn my dream into a reality, I brought in my debate partner and organizational maestro Nathaniel Hosmer. Our goal is to empower as many individuals and companies as possible to rediscover the art of writing letters that uplift and empower. Our initial product will be a kit containing stationary that stands out, a guide on writing letters with impact and emotional power and a beautiful fountain pen to launch your writing habit with. As time goes on, we hope to build a community and a movement empowered by our followers that helps people rediscover the lost art of writing letters.
Please like our page today and be the first to know when we launch preorders. In the meantime, we always welcome your insights, ideas, and thoughts about writing. If this is your first visit, we encourage you to tell a personal story about a positive experience you had with written letters.The article that started it all: The Best Way to Save People From Suicide by Jason Cherkis and Matt Giles.