Organization starts productive conversation about mental health
Updated: May 31
Written by: Madison Duboise
All graphics from One Smile Effect
Throughout these past few months it seems as if the world can not catch a break. From the Corona virus outbreak to murder hornets and the recent acts of racism the world we face today seems entirely different from what it was at the end of last year. Processing these issues is already hard enough in today’s society and it can be extremely difficult for those that face mental illnesses or those that are just unstable during these times. The organization One Smile Effect decided to focus on mental health and emotional support because people are going through various situations right now.
One Smile Effect started on April 3rd, 2020. It was initially started by Elif Kaya on Instagram as an account to promote wellbeing during these difficult times of the Covid-19 virus and being quarantined at home. The team is made up of volunteers from all over the world who feel like doing something to help people during this virus crisis.
“On April 3rd, One Smile Effect followed me on Instagram so I was curious to see what the account was about. Then I learned that their initiative was to help people who are currently at home and going through difficult times due to the limited social contact and such,” Director of Community Outreach Zareen Tasnim said. “I knew I wanted to help but I couldn't go out or anything so I found this group's initiative and style worked best for me. I applied to be a part of this team and grow it because I feel that at least I am taking some action while I'm staying at home during quarantine.”
Many people are having difficulty being unable to talk to anyone. While others are treating quarantine as a stay-at-home vacation. One Smile Effect seeks to create a community in which people are free to talk and express themselves no matter their situation.
“One of our current projects we are working on right now is called the Support group. It will be a Discord chat where people can help others and give suggestions on problems or just talk about the latest TV show they watched,” Tasnim said. “During these times when we can't see anyone physically, technology can really be of use to connect others. These are some really difficult times in which some people need to grieve and others need things to do.”
With a team that is extremely diverse, they have members from the USA, Canada, Turkey, Germany, and more. Everyone on their team has similar goals, and that is to expand One Smile Effect to help as many people as they can.
“The focus on mental health is really important during this pandemic because it has been spiking recently due to the various sudden deaths happening all around and the uncertainty in the air. Life has been paused basically, and people have no hope right now,” Tasnim said. “Many people are losing jobs, losing educational opportunities, and struggling with poverty or feeling lonely. Focusing on mental health is necessary because it influences our decisions. One Smile Effect wants to create a sense of community for people who would just like to talk or do fun activities online.”
Their website currently has a form to join their Support group which they plan to launch soon in June and information on everyone on the team. On their Instagram page @onesmileffect they post various things such as announcements for new games or their support team. Their Instagram story shares information on other useful accounts or activities to check out during the pandemic.
“To engage with followers, we have different teams. The community outreach team plans to reach out to as many people as they can to get involved because we want people to participate. We want to help people,” Tasnim said. “One of the ways we reach out to people is by having team members post on stories about the Instagram account or tagging friends on posts to get them interested. We also reach out to other non-profit Instagram groups looking to create change to promote each other.”
The organization has hosted movie nights where many people can watch a movie together in the comfort of their homes while chatting with others at the same time. Movies are chosen depending on popular choice. It can be a fun way to unwind some stress.
They hope to use their platform to create a safe space for everyone going through similar or not so similar circumstances to connect. Their goal is to encourage healthy mental and emotional habits during this time of chaos in the world.
“One Smile Effect really just wants to make sure during these difficult times that people steer away from bad thoughts like depression and loneliness at home. Sometimes people can't tell someone about certain issues, so having a stranger to talk to and get some suggestions from can be helpful,” Tasnim said. ”If we can make one person smile, we'll be happy because from one smile another smile comes and that is how we want to affect people.”