How are you? No I seriously mean it, how are you? More importantly how often do you mean it when you ask someone how they are, are you doing it because you care or because it's a polite question to ask that we've all been taught from a young age? Now let's take it one step further, how often do you truly answer that question? I would guess you truthfully answer it next to never, and this is where The How Are You Project comes in.
One of my sweet sorority sisters, Georgie, was asked to create a campaign with the end goal of decreasing the number of students who don't finish college due to their mental health condition as a part of her summer internship. Her group came to the realization that due to the fact people in college are talking more with their thumbs and less with their mouths, because of the prevalence of texting and social media, college students are interacting in a much more shallow way. Her group then decided they wanted to turn small talk into big conversation by putting meaning back into the phrase “how are you?,” which birthed The How Are You Project.
The focal point of the project is a video of a ten-hour long coffee date with a man waiting for you to truthfully answer, "How are you?." Of the project Georgie says, "The mission of our project is basically to get college students to put meaning back into the question, "how are you?" to stimulate important conversations about mental health and mental illness among friend groups. It's been a great project to work on and create because it's something that we've realized that really affects all of us, it's something I've seen affect a lot of my friends, and it's a number that I want to see change. It should be 0 in 5 college students are affected with mental illness, not 1 in 5."
As someone who suffers from anxiety this project focuses on a topic that I am passionate about and love the approach Georgie's group took to it. I think the question of "how are you?" is an important one that we all take for granted, but need to stop. I really encourage you to mean it the next time you ask someone how they're doing and to also check out The How Are You Project so you can understand why this is all so important.
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