People Magazine: Jewel Reminds People In Need That They Are Not Alone This Holiday Season

The singer-songwriter has made it her mission in life to bring relief to homeless and troubled youth. By Rosemary Rossi

 

Singer-songwriter Jewel performs on the Main Stage during the first day of The Wellness Experience by Kroger at The Banks on August 20, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio
PHOTO: DUANE PROKOP/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE WELLNESS EXPERIENCE BY KROGER

Jewel is on a mission to bring comfort to those who feel alone during the holiday season. The “You Were Meant for Me” singer has been focused on mental health awareness for almost two decades, with her Never Broken Foundation helping homeless and at-risk youth with their emotional and psychological well-being.

Now she has launched her second annual Not Alone Challenge, not only reminding people that they are not alone in the world but also giving them access to tools to help get their lives on track. Last year, her efforts made it the “largest mental health challenge in history.”

 

“We reached almost one and a half billion people last year,” she told ABC News. “What we learned is there’s lots of people living in places that we call mental health deserts where they don’t have access to therapy. So the Not Alone Challenge is not only to raise awareness, but to put tools in people’s hands who need it and they can find free tools and resources at our website.”

 
 
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Jewel, 49, has been open about her troublesome teen years, saying that she got into mental health when she was 15 and had moved out of her abusive family home and into a cabin alone in Alaska. Later, after heading to California, she lived in her car.

“When I got discovered — it’s funny — I almost didn’t sign my record contract because I was so aware that if you take somebody with my emotional background, and God forbid, I get famous…” she told PEOPLE in 2022.  She continued: “That’s every movie you’ve seen of every celebrity. In this job, we lose more people to addiction, overdose, suicide, mental breakdowns, and I didn’t want to be a statistic.”

So, she made a deal with herself: she would sign that recording contract “as long as my number one job remained, learning how to be a happy, whole human,” she told ABC News. “I refused to let my life go by without learning how to be happy.

“And it’s unacceptable that misery is an equal opportunist. It doesn’t care what color you are or if you’re rich or poor. But if you wanna learn a new way of being that often takes access to things not everybody has access to.”

 
 
Singer-songwriter Jewel performing during Mindful & Music event on the Inspire Stage presented by Johnson & Johnson during the first day of Wellness Your Way Festival at the Duke Energy Convention Center on October 11, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio
DUANE PROKOP/GETTY IMAGES FOR WELLNESS YOUR WAY FESTIVAL

So, about 22 years ago, Jewel started a youth foundation where they concentrate on mental health. “We now have one of the most successful rates of helping kids with suicidal ideation. And then it’s just been spreading this mission wider and wider because it’s mean to raise awareness without also offering tools.”

 

Jewel’s very personal mission of awareness and help has been met with huge success, last year raising $1.5 million.

 

“I hope people go to the Not Alone challenge.org website,” she concluded. “They can find free resources. You can also vote or auction. There’s auction items that you can bid on. Um, and we actually just found a donor, the Foundation Reserve Social Club, that’s gonna match donations up to one and a half-million dollars.”

 

Source: People Magazine

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