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Meet Milly Bannister of GRLKND in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Milly Bannister.

Milly, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hi hi thanks for having me today! By trade I’m a communications expert and lifestyle journalist, backed by a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism & Media, and certification in Human Research and Suicide Prevention. I was born in Australia but now live in Los Angeles, California.

I’m the Founder & Director of GRLKND, a non-profit organization connecting young women to mental health resources. With the purpose of advancing self-belief and kindness in high-school leaving and college-aged women, our self-development curriculum and online support community is backed by a board of female experts and psychologists.

We have an App (free, yay) that supports a daily check-in experience to help users get to know themselves better and feel supported, and a ‘help me hub’ for instant access to mental health resources and crisis lines.

Our beneficiaries are, (but not limited to), youth, female-identifying 15-25-year-olds. GRLKND is made up of Experts, Ambassadors and Partners. We are made for women, by women and absolutely support the advancement of women through community.

Has it been a smooth road?
I’m currently feeling the most vulnerable and the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been in my life, but also the most alive. As much as I preach self-worth and not shying away from ambition, I’m constantly and quite pragmatically over-thinking every granule of my life. It really is hard not to define yourself by your output, or how many people you’ve helped, or how many likes you get on a photo. (Also, living away from your family and childhood community is really, really hard. Hi Mum, I miss you).

The best part of starting your ‘own thing’ is not the fact that my parents are proud of you or that your friends might think you’re cool or that you look worldy on social media… it’s the personal growth. I’m obsessed with learning and expanding.

It’s a crazy (almost existential crisis inducing) feeling looking back on my existence in my writing, my photos, my relationships and mental state exactly one year ago, annually. Yes, I was a ‘different person’, that’s cliche, but what’s most interesting is understanding what happened between then and now, in every little experience and relationship that touched me, providing the greatest learning opportunity of my life.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
In the USA, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 15–24 (10.6%). In Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death among people aged 15–24 (35%). (Data sourced from the US National Vital Statistics System and Australian Bureau of Statistics).

The above statistics indicate that, now, unlike ever before, young women are faced with a critical amount of challenges to their mental health. Traditional education isn’t effectively covering these areas of self-development in a relatable, accessible way, and unless we do something about it now, there could be brain rewiring with negative long-term effects. Here’s how we’re helping…

The App: The goal of our (free) App available for iOs and Android interface (March 16, 2020), is simply to reach and impact more young women, connecting them with mental health resources. Our curriculum is developed by a combination of GRLKND’s female industry-leading experts and its two psychologists, specializing in female, youth mental- health care.

The Campus Visits: With an overarching theme of de-stigmatizing and understanding mental health, school-visits aims to advance the self-belief and kindness in young women, whilst offering support and clear pathways to seek clinical support.

Social Media/ The GRLKND Podcast: Our community vibe is ‘your local girl gang’ – the nice girlfriends you’ve always wanted. We aim to chat about everything school forgot to teach us. We aim to advance the self-belief and kindness in young women, everywhere.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I adore Los Angeles, always have. I love working out of The Wing in West Hollywood. I lived in San Jose and New York City before this and I’ve always craved the warmth and sparkliness of LA since I visited as a 13-year-old. I knew I’d live here one day and now it’s finally home. I plan to one day live 1/4 of the year in Australia and 3/4 here.

LA is the place a lot of people’s dreams come true. Why can’t it be that place for you too? You’ve gotta start somewhere. It may as well be your favorite city.

I do wish getting around was more efficient. I Uber literally everywhere, but the traffic can be intense. Where’s the NYC-inspired subway system at?

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