Jamie Tworkowski wasn’t trying to start a movement. He certainly wasn’t thinking about creating an organization whose blog posts are quoted on T-shirts, or whose supporters say they are still alive because of him. He just wanted to write and post a story about a friend struggling with mental health and addiction.
Yet that 2006 blog post, titled “To Write Love on Her Arms,” sparked the global nonprofit of the same name. Tworkowski’s organization was named the MDRT Foundation charity partner for the 2021 MDRT Annual Meeting Virtual Event. Tworkowski's original intent of helping his friend has grown into a network that spreads awareness of mental health issues, provides resources to access help, and invests in treatment and recovery.
In the last 15 years, the To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) team has responded to more than 210,000 messages from people in more than 100 countries and traveled 4 million miles to provide support.
“The topic of mental health has touched all of our lives in some way,” said MDRT Foundation president Brian P. Walsh, CLU, ChFC, a 27-year MDRT member from Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA. “The more we give, the more people we can give hope and help to. It is really that powerful.”
For Tworkowski and the organization he founded, that means communication in many forms. It could be as small as a tweet or as big as a presentation on a college campus. It also means subsidizing the help that people need but can’t always afford, with TWLOHA providing $2.7 million toward treatment and counseling since its inception.
“We hear from a lot of people that say we were the spark that encouraged them to finally step into this type of care,” Tworkowski said. “Life is hard at times, and each of us deals with mental health. No matter how good you are at your job or how successful you are, it’s important to remember that we’re human, and admit that we’re human.”
So what can you do?
Register for the 2021 MDRT Annual Meeting Virtual Event to hear Jamie speak about TWLOHA and make a donation.
Go to twloha.com/get-involved, download TWLOHA’s free self-care app The Hopeful, post about TWLOHA in your social media or just tell someone you see today.
“So much of the success and growth of the organization has come from word of mouth: from the influence of an artist on a stage in front of hundreds of thousands to someone working at a coffee shop and sharing with a coworker,” said Tworkowski. “We try to remind people that everyone has some kind of influence and ability to help.”