Mind Socks is the evolution of an enterprise that comprises far more than just commerce. It is the brain child of co-creators Mila Dhurbarry and Carissa Belham. Its inception began in 2015, when a Mental Health referral saw two likeminded individuals converge. That relationship resulted in what is now burgeoning small business incorporating a range of textiles with unique, uplifting design elements aimed at fostering a greater sense of mental health awareness and acceptance of the stigma associated with this issue worldwide.
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When Carissa was initially referred to Mila little did either party know of their shared interests and passion. As Mila worked with Carissa to unpack various areas of her life and support her in her recovery journey, they developed a strong bond of friendship and collaboration.
Through one of their regular catch ups, they both shared their passion for fashion and the desire of owning their very own brand. At the time, Carissa was in the mix of a manic episode and was admitted to hospital. It was during her stay at the hospital that she touched side with her creativity and sketched over 40 socks designs which we now know as the Enthusiast Mind Socks collection.
Mila has been an advocate for social justice and always wanted to create a brand that gives back to the community and send an important message. That message is clear: recovery from mental illness is possible and can lead to beautiful things. And, beautiful things flourished indeed. The range of socks that Mind Socks offers is vibrant, warm and the concept nourishes the spirit.
And, while they are certainly very funky and unique, there’s much more to these socks than meet the eye. It’s all about breaking down barriers. As Mila explains “often a lot is unspoken when you are dealing with mental illness, especially around the difficulties of everyday functioning and relationships. Many of us put a large focus on getting back to work or get off pills.”
Mila continues to explain the difficulties that mental illness creates - particularly in terms of relationships – and their spiralling nature. Even though she is a mental health professional she is no stranger to the ‘black dog’ on a personal level. “Relationships are what I consider a major aspect of our wellbeing. My mental illness affected my relationships with my friends, my family and my partner at the time.”
Mental illness has far reaching implications. “I still remember how I did not want to be touched but at the same time yearned to be held in my partner’s arms. I lost every bit of confidence in myself and it took me a few years to learn to love myself and love someone; to allow someone being close to me. Deep down the scar is there.”
Carissa also added that she spent about a week in hospital on a few occasions over the past 5 years and at times she wanted to get back to how things were in the past. “Little did I know that I would need to make adjustments and head in new direction in my life taking into consideration the circumstances I was under. Life was not going to be the same. I have my moments where I thought that meeting or dating would be out of the question. My focus now is on my health and the business” She added.
For both Mila and Carissa recovery hasn’t been easy and it is never easy, for no one!
The pair added that while many aim at being recovered as being ‘pill free’; it is much more than that. For them recovery is the journey that never ends; “it is redefining ourselves, connecting with loved ones, developing new relationships, dreaming and being ready to start it all over again if needed,” the pair added.
“We have learnt that everything moves forward; we want to inspire and empower others that dreams do come true and recovery is possible,” the pair concluded.
Mila & Carissa
Founder of Mind Socks
My name is Carissa Belham and I am 29 years old from Brisbane, Australia. My role at Mind Socks is the Creative Director. I hold a double degree – Bachelor of Business (Marketing)/ Bachelor of Arts (Communications) with a minor in Graphic Design. It is my responsibility for designing our fabulous socks and packaging. I also look after the majority of the social media posts. When not working on my passion, which is Mind Socks I spend my time working 2 jobs – Retail in a homewares store and as a sales consultant for an online t-shirt store. I love design, fashion and community. I have exhibited my abstract art in a number of exhibitions. I come from a large family of all girls. Socialising is at the heart of what I do. I enjoying coffee and lunch dates with friends and family. I have a bright and bubble personality that is always eager to Get Shit Done (GSD).
Mila is the co-founder and executive director of Mind socks. She is a young woman in her early thirties who came to Australia 10 years ago to follow her passion of social work and study in Melbourne. Mila was born and raised in Mauritius and known as a fun, bubbly person with a heart to help others. She started her career as a primary school teacher and followed her heart to helping the community. Mila has over ten years experience working in the community sector and is passionate about bringing change in the community for an inclusive world. About 5 years ago, when Mila was diagnosed with PTSD after a car accident, everything changed in her life and that’s when mila made it her mission to raise as much awareness about Mental Health issues and advocate for others suffering.
Mila also has a passion for fashion and usually combines both her passion together and model for charity fundraising events. For Mila, family and friends are very important. So, when she is not working on Mindsocks, she spends her time catching up with her family and friends or practise meditation. Mila also loves the outdoors and she says it is what keeps her sane. Mila spends a fair bit of time going on road trips across Australia and travelling the world. Mila is a nature and animal lover and spends her camping trips with her staffy.
Mila is known as a go getter and resilient person. The world can throw anything at her and she will face it and overcome it.