She drew inspiration from the heartfelt letters she received from her grandparents during a lonely phase of her life.
Loneliness is one of the biggest reasons that drive adults to depression loneliness is one of the biggest reasons that drive adults to depression, reports NHS. Kind words make a huge difference for people struggling with mental health problems. It assures them that someone is rooting for them and their well-being. In order to make other people feel the support they need during their mental trials and tribulations, Abbie Williams launched a service named "Letters of Hope," as reported by ABC South West. This service helps people by giving them letters of comfort in times of need. Williams had the idea when she felt that comfort from the letters she received from her grandparents, at a lonely juncture of her life.
2017 was an extremely hard year for Williams as she had to constantly fight depression and anxiety wearing a smile on her face. She had to deal with a lot of things at once, like moving to Australia from her home country and having no friends at all in her new place. During that time, letters from her grandparents kept her going. She shared, "Not long after I moved out here, my grandparents, essentially, became my pen pals." The letters were a symbol of hope for her and encouraged her to keep going on in life.
Williams got strength from the thoughts and consideration her grandparents put into the letter. She wanted to impart the same strength to others in trouble. "I decided that I wanted to give that same feeling to other people who were struggling and just try to make them feel less alone and show them that someone out there cared," she told ABC Victorian Statewide Mornings.
At first, Williams' organization only had her writing letters to people who asked for such encouragement and warmth through requests on the internet. As her service grew, she began to search for volunteers so that each letter could be written with the care and consideration it deserved. In 2020 she saw a sharp increase in her business as she began to receive an unprecedented number of requests. In her opinion, it was due to the pandemic, "I think that was a time when a lot of people felt very isolated." Australian National University agrees with Williams' assertion and has noted a substantial increase in people suffering from psychological distress during the pandemic.
Williams, therefore, pushed the boundaries of her service more during the pandemic. She decided to leave letters in random places for people to find them, such as while walking her dog. She explained her intention by saying, "Just to try and create those little moments of connection for people who, aside from that daily walk, would essentially just be inside their house." Today, the organization has become so successful that Williams has left her corporate job and is devoted full-time to her passion project.
There is no obligation for the recipients to write back a letter. "Having struggled with my own mental health, I've been in the headspace where I've struggled to even do things like basic self-care," Williams explains. She knows that this method of sending letters can bring a lot of comfort to people and is now reaching out to businesses and schools to provide the services. Through "Letters of Hope," people can make requests for themselves and others through the Internet. According to the company's survey, these letters have encouraged people to take a positive approach toward their mental health.