09 Oct Destigmatizing Mental Health through Zottie Dottie
This World Mental Health Day, Zoie Carroll shares the story behind Zottie Dottie, an online community focused on reducing mental health stigma.
Hi there fellow Blessed to Give readers! My name is Zoie and I launched Zottie Dottie on the 21st of December 2015. The name Zottie Dottie was unique, original and authentic to my identity. My Grandma’s name was Dorothy and she passed away before I was born. My mum then called me Zottie Dottie and dressed me in polka dots to remind me of her own mother that she lost to cancer when she was 24 years old.
I came up with the idea for Zottie Dottie because my mum died from suicide in 2012, and despite being acutely aware of the statistics, I didn’t know anyone within my own community who I could relate to, so I set out to create a supportive and creative online community. I didn’t want to lose the human element in the digital world; I wanted it to be raw, real and engaging. I therefore chose video as the medium to communicate these stories, as I thought video was the easiest way to get to know someone intimately.
The stories of adversity and the messages of support allow ordinary people to connect, care and communicate regarding their real life stories which demonstrate how powerful storytelling can be. The Zottie Dottie’s #SelfieofSupport social movement is all about bringing people together from all walks of life to learn from each other’s mistakes, failures and low points (stories of adversity) to provide hope, inspiration and support to others who need to know that they are not alone.
As a young person I spent many years doing volunteer work, looking after disadvantaged members of society. I then traveled to over 40 different countries around the world; lived and worked in London, France, Singapore, and finally moved home to Sydney to help my family after my mum died. Upon my travels, I witnessed so many people who lived in poverty or grew up facing difficult circumstances. I was always observant and extremely curious, which lead to many conversations with people from all walks of life. I quickly learnt that we were all had a lot more in common that a lot of us like to admit, but unfortunately too many people focus on our differences rather than bonding over our similarities. The point of ZottieDottie is to celebrate our differences whilst simultaneously showing empathy for those that aren’t exactly the same.
The #SelfieofSupport social movement started on the 5th of June 2016 has already reached people in over 18 different countries around the world. Zottie Dottie continues to grow from strength to strength, positively impacting thousands of lives using social media for social good.
Zottie Dottie celebrates mental health role models in society, and uses the power of storytelling to normalise mental health and support families and friends affected by the devastating ripple effects of suicide and mental illness. Zottie Dottie is proud to be supported by Suicide Prevention Australia and the Foundation for Young Australians. Zoie has recently been named one of the top 60 Young Australians to be making a positive social impact in Australia. Please get involved with our #SelfieofSupport campaign to continue the positive ripple effect by sharing your own #SelfieofSupport on any social media account; simply tag @zottiedottie in your photo and you will be able to join our supportive community which destigmatises mental health and supports people from all around the world.
By joining this social movement you can help those going through a diffuclt time by being there for them. You can also gain so much by owning your own story and coming to terms with your past. You may experience a vulnerability hangover after you do share, in which case we encourage you to keep in touch with everyone within the ZottieDottie community to continue to feel supported. If you or anyone you know needs help or is in immediate dangers, this is a list of suicide hotlines around the world.
Zoie Carroll graduated from Bond University, in Queensland, Australia, with a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business. She worked in property before founding Zottie Dottie, an online community focused on destigmatizing mental health.