By Max Diehl | Staff Writer
Houston sophomore Elizabeth Charkalis is stepping out of her shell and offering others an insight into something that seems more important than ever: it’s OK to seek help and people are never really alone.
Her podcast, “No Rain No Flowers,” is based on the merit of spoken truth alone and offers an intimate view into the life of a Baylor student and her mental health journey.
For Charkalis, the idea of advocacy for mental health was never one that started with a podcast. Rather, it first manifested itself in May 2022 in the form of her business, also named No Rain No Flowers. The business started as a way to sell jewelry, apparel and more while simultaneously spreading a message of the importance of mental health and further advocacy.
Charkalis said she donates a significant portion of all proceeds to a rotating slate of charities based on current events. As her business continued to grow, she said she felt called to open up and offer more to end mental health stigma.
“I felt that the most genuine and real way to help end the stigma was to be as vulnerable as possible and to talk about my struggles,” Charkalis said.
Charkalis said some of her struggles during the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond included “just being unmotivated, tired, thinking that everything was a waste of time.”
“There was this wall,” Charkalis said. “And when you don’t know the signs of mental health illness, it’s difficult to even begin to talk about. In struggling with mental health, I always felt different and alone. Growing up, I began to realize that I wasn’t the only one struggling, and it was much more common than I had understood.”
According to the American Psychological Association, more than 60% of college students meet the requirement for at least one mental health problem. Oklahoma City, Okla., senior Sam Nightengale said these struggles are more common than meets the eye, but aren’t always talked about.
“A lot more students struggle with it than open up about it, but being open is definitely one of the first steps,” Nightengale said. “If so many people are going through it, then you’re never really alone.”
This realization that Charkalis’ journey isn’t too different from many of her peers’ seems to be a source of comfort. Charkalis said her goal is to bring a sense of community to the journey. She said when you aren’t alone in your walk with mental health, there seems to be far greater hope.
“That’s why I’m doing this podcast — even though it’s scary — in hopes that someone else can relate to them and get the help they need,” Charkalis said. “If sharing helps even one person get help, I will be so thankful and proud. I know this is larger than myself and my fears that once held me back.”
Baylor University offers counseling resources for students who may be struggling with mental health. In emergencies, call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.
“No Rain, No Flowers Podcast” is available on Spotify, and you can visit the business on instagram @norainnoflowersco.