The initiative led by the Canadian not-for-profit, Reach Out Together Foundation, encouraged people to light a flame of hope on July 12 to inspire the action to reach out for help and support.
World Reach Out Together Day (WROTD) is celebrated every year on July 12 to raise mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Reach Out Together Foundation was founded by Aanchal Vash to provide mental health resources and training following the loss of her twin brother to suicide on the 12th of July in 2016.
Aanchal became a mental health first aider certified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in 2017. Her inspiration to take action came when she realized there was a lack of education and understanding about mental health challenges, signs, symptoms, and resources available. She’s been driven ever since to make mental health resources more accessible to everyone in need.
She leads mental health trainings to guide her community, worldwide organizations, and students to respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis situation. Her goal has always been to inspire hope within individuals suffering in silence. Everyone has the potential to be the light in the life of someone who is suffering. But what does silent suffering look like? Through education and continuous training, she empowers individuals to be the light in the darkness of someone’s life and how to do so effectively.
Every year she hosts events to encourage the community to reach out for better mental health. From the world’s first 12-hour LIVE event, to an 8-hour panel discussion with industry-leading experts and survivors. This year marked the 6th annual World Reach Out Together Day on July 12. Aanchal urged people to spark a flame of hope by lighting a candle and placing it by the window.
This concept was influenced by a Christmas celebration Aanchal attended the year her twin brother passed away in December 2016. It was her first Christmaschristmas without her brother. She was invited by a friend to attend a celebration at a church where they had a huge live band, projector screens with christmas carol lyrics, and every one was singing. At the entrance, every attendee was given a candle. Towards the end, the priest lit a candle and lit the first person’s candle on the right. That person turned to the left and lit the person’s candle next to them. And so it continued as everyone was singing.
Eventually it was her turn. The person on the right turned towards her and lit her candle. But in order for him to lit her candle, she had to willingly put out her candle for someone to lit it for her. And then she turned and lit the person’s candle to the left of her.
This moment became evident to her that in order for someone to light up the darkness within, one must be willing to reach out and accept the help. For someone to light your candle, you have to put out your candle first. Sometimes it may be difficult to reach out for help.
Letting others know they are not alone and offering a safe space if they want to talk is her vision for everyone, regardless of where they are in the world. The intention was to stimulate honest discussions about mental health and encourage people to reach out to each other. The world becomes a safer place when we intentionally hold space for others to share with no judgment.
About Aanchal Vash
Aanchal is a 3x international bestselling author and 3x award-winning thought leader. In 2022, she was recognized as the ‘Top 10 Indian Women Leaders in Canada’ by Women Entrepreneur India. She was born in India, raised in Nigeria, and is now a citizen of Canada. She has been relentless in her pursuit of being financially independent ever since her childhood. After the passing of her twin brother, Tushar, by suicide, she became mental health first aid certified and realized the need for basic mental health education in her community. She is also a Certified Canfield Success Trainer and has made it her mission to help people improve their wellbeing while achieving continued success.
Her best-selling book, ‘Ongoing Success and Wellbeing: A Daily Guide to Cultivate Fulfillment in the Pursuit of Achievement,’
She is the founder of Vash Media Inc. and Reach Out Together Foundation. She has appeared on several media channels, including – ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CBC’s Metro Morning News, and the Hollywood Live TV Show. Aanchal received an EXPY® Award at the Annual Thought Leader Summit for her accomplishments as an entrepreneur, expert, and professional in California in 2018. She received the Community Development Award from the African Alumni Association, the University of Toronto, in 2019. In 2021 she received a Quilly® Award at the National Association of Bestselling Authors in California for her first book, Success Strategies.
You can connect with Aanchal via email: firstname.lastname@example.org