On Monday, February 8, Post Secret will be coming through town. Yes, that’s right. The Frank Warren will be speaking at The Venue. If you’ve never heard of PostSecret, we must remedy this.
In 2005, Warren unknowingly founded one of the most popular blogs on the internet today. Ten years later, and PostSecret is going strong. What is Post Secret, and why is it so popular? Post Secret is a medium through which people can mail in anonymous postcard with their deepest secrets written on them. In turn, Warren chooses a select few and posts them online every Sunday. There are new secrets every week.
The postcards are always home-made, thus Post Secret is identified as an ongoing community mail art project. The secrets range from very serious to quite humourous in tone. Post Secret has published several books filled with secrets and has been featured in museum exhibits. Post Secret has raised awareness on mental health issues, and has created a dialogue discussing suicide and suicide prevention. Warren donated over $1 million in the cause of suicide prevention, and many of his talks center around mental health.
Arthur spoke to Hilary Stafford, VP of Campaigns and Equity at the TCSA, who is behind the organization of this event. Stafford provided some insight into the formation of the event, and described why such an event is important and beneficial to Peterborough and Trent students.
What inspired you to organize this event?
I was originally introduced to Post Secret by the TCSA’s Association Resource Manager Stephanie Laing McKay, when she showed me the website one day. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I found the whole idea of sending someone an anonymous secret very interesting because it seemed like a great way to express yourself on an anonymous platform.
I also liked reading other people’s secrets because it made me realize that many of the struggles that we let define us, may actually be experienced by a number of other people. I decided to organize a Post Secret event this year because I believe that is important for Trent students and the Peterborough community to realize that they are not alone in their struggles, and I believe that this event will really help to bring our community together and discuss the important topic of mental health.
What do you think the significance of Post Secret is?
I think Post Secret provides people with a way to express themselves, when they may not necessarily want the attention that would come with telling a secret publicly, hence why it is a secret. The anonymity of the project means that people are made aware of resources to help themselves, while also having the opportunity to connect with people in a setting where they will not be judged. A secret is still a secret, but Post Secret also provides a way to get that secret off of someone’s chest.
Why do you think the community should care about this?
I think this event will benefit the community because my goal is to have it jump start a conversation surrounding mental health. There are many great resources for people struggling with mental illness and so I hope that this event will raise awareness of those resources while also encouraging people to get the help that they need. I also think that this event will increase the sense of community here in Peterborough and at Trent because there will be opportunities for individuals to participate in the discussion and I believe that it will create a great sense of community.
What was it like organizing the event?
Organizing this event was really interesting because of all of the great individuals that I have gotten to work with. Both Frank Warren (the founder of Post Secret) and the National Speakers Bureau have been great to work with, and I have also received great support from a number of people in the Peterborough and Trent communities. I have a number of people to thank for helping me make this possible and I also have a number of sponsors who have been very generous. I am extremely excited for this event and I hope the community is as well.