After having her second child, creator and owner of Essence One, Lauren VanScoy, experienced high levels of anxiety and depression, and she sought out the best solution for regaining balance in her life. Turning to aromatherapy, VanScoy began creating her own natural essential oils blends as a way to improve her immune system, relieve stress and uplift her spirit, eventually leading her to become certified through the Aromahead Institute.
With a goal of improving the quality of life in a toxic-free way, VanScoy began selling her handmade products to others in the community, which ignited conversation about mental health issues amongst locals. “Being able to share my feelings was a major part of my healing,” VanScoy says. It also made her realize that others were going through similar situations.
As a company that strives to elevate awareness about natural mental health therapies (conversation and aromatherapy), Essence One partnered with Bring Change to Mind (BC2M) to become the financial sponsor for Maple Grove Senior High’s (MGSH) mental health awareness club, which launched this year.
BC2M is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to eliminating the stigma around mental health by raising awareness and showing empathy to those experiencing difficult times. As a national organization, BC2M sparks conversations, amplifies voices and creates allies in support of issues that are otherwise overlooked.
As a way of expanding awareness, San Francisco-based BC2M created a high school program to provide teens with a platform to share their voices and empower them to educate one another in a place that is safe and comfortable amongst their peers. It was co-founded in 2010 by actress Glenn Close after two of her family members were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.
With 250 high school programs consisting of nearly 7,500 students nationwide, Jasmine Holt, a junior at MGSH, wanted to make her school the newest addition to this movement. “I think that it is more important that we start talking about [mental health issues] now because our generation is a lot more open and progressive ... mindset wise,” says Holt, founder of MGSH’s BC2M club. “This is a time where it will be more accepted, and we might as well take advantage of that now.”
Noticing a void in this area at MGSH, Holt knew that the first step was to create a place where students could come together, be comfortable with one another and share similar experiences. “I want people to know that everyone has problems, and that is OK,” Holt says. “In no way is the club a replacement for professional therapy however, I do want it to be a safe space for people, who don’t have another outlet to take that extra step to feel better.” In order to make this happen, Holt wants the club’s vibe to read as an enjoyable experience, which is led by intriguing conversation, strong bonds and fun activities.
The club had its first meeting in November, and Holt has plans to bring in speakers, make crafts, such as slime or stress balls, and eventually collaborate with Essence One in its Minneapolis studio to learn how to make essential oils.
In its infancy, the club has already sparked a movement in the school and has become, what Holt believes, the foundation of change. “(BC2M) is a part of my plan of making the school a better place for everyone,” she says. “I want it to be a place of bringing each other up, supporting each other and hoping that others will be successful.”
Support the effort by purchasing select Essence One products at Spavia, 11732 Elm Creek Blvd. N., Maple Grove.