Interview: Julia Broglie, founder and CEO of Broglie Box

July 28, 2021

Interview

Trigger Warning: This article mentions suicide. If you are in crisis please text HOME to 741741 or call 800-273-TALK (8255)


July 24th was International Self-Care Day but we are continuing the conversation throughout this week and onwards. While you’re indulging yourself, remember to also treat your mental wellbeing. Self-care should start with your mind and your body. Taking the time to acknowledge the importance of mental wellness helps to open the public narrative on mental wellness and makes it okay for those who really need help to seek it. 


Julia Broglie, the founder, and CEO of BroglieBox has made mental self-care the cornerstone of her business. BroglieBox ships mental wellness care packages straight to your door, or a loved one’s. Each box has curated the best mental wellness resources so the recipient doesn’t have to go looking for them in their time of need. For International Self-Care Day, we’ve sat down with Julia to understand the significance of having access to mental wellness resources to easily take care of your mental wellbeing.



Mooditude: Julia, you are creating an empathetic empire to help those struggling with their mental health. Can you share with us how your brother, Justin, became an inspiration for your company?


Julia: Thank you for the kind words :)  I love the phrase “empathetic empire”!  BroglieBox was originally inspired by and continues to be a tribute to my 24-year-old brother Justin who we lost to suicide on April 7, 2014.  He was the kindest, most thoughtful person I have ever met and we were extremely close since he was just 18 months older than me. 


After his death, my family and I were very open about his mental illness and struggle with depression, and I started to speak more openly about my own challenges.  Because of this, many people started feeling comfortable telling me their own stories and some even asked me for resources.  I did a ton of research and put together a list of my favorite products, tools, and resources so that I would have them readily available and this is what became BroglieBox: care packages and kits for mental wellness.


Justin always used to tell me that he really wanted to make an impact on this world, and although he’s not here physically, he continues to make a huge impact through BroglieBox.


Mooditude: When you were looking for your own mental health resources, what barriers did you encounter accessing them?


Julia: When I was looking for mental health resources, I felt extremely overwhelmed and confused about where to start.  I struggled deeply with depression and anxiety during my senior year of college. When I finally got the courage to go to my school’s mental health center, I was put on a 3-month waiting list for therapy due to the influx of students needing help.  


This experience only exacerbated my guilt about the negative thoughts I was experiencing because I thought that my situation was not “critical” enough to deserve help.  Even worse, I was sent away without a single resource or tool to help me cope. I felt very alone and felt embarrassed to talk about it amongst my peers and family.  


I now know that there are many others who have dealt with the same mental health challenges and that there are so many resources available to feel better.



Mooditude: How does BroglieBox provide the right resources to people who need mental health help? 



Julia: BroglieBox is mental wellness, delivered.   Boxes & kits are filled with thoughtful products and resources for optimal mental health and stress relief.  We have options for general mental wellness and options to help the recipient combat anxiety, grief, loneliness, stress, and more.  We include our own Piece of Mind Magazine in every box, which features timely and useful articles, practical self-help guides, and tools from top-notch psychologists, psychiatrists, and mental health experts. BroglieBox is an all-encompassing resource kit offered in a fun, warm, and heartfelt way!  BroglieBoxes make great gifts for you or your loved ones.


We do all the research to find the right resources and we package it in a way that truly feels like a gift.  If you think about it, the person who is struggling is actually the least equipped to be researching for resources because they are already feeling overwhelmed on a day-to-day basis.  We take the overwhelm out of this process for people.


Our goal is that every single person who receives a box or finds our website feels empowered in their health, knows they aren’t alone, and feels relief knowing that help is available for any dark days they might encounter. 


Mooditude: Can you tell us about how we could use one of your boxes to create a nurturing self-care routine?


Julia: Yes! Self-care is truly unique to the individual, but what we have found is that mental wellness can be improved by focusing on 6 categories or “pillars” as we call them: mindfulness, gratitude, sleep, fitness, nutrition, and relaxation.  All of the products and resources we offer can fall into one of these categories.  


So whether you are using mindfulness cards, or reflecting by writing in a journal, getting a better night’s sleep because of the weighted eye mask, drinking more water because of the hydration reminder, using the therapy dough as a fidget coping tool, or learning about your mental health and taking next steps to get professional treatment - all of these are amazing options for your self-care routine and can be found in one of our boxes!


Mooditude: Many of us feel that it’s hard to talk about how we are feeling or even taboo to talk about mental health disorders publicly. Why do you think it’s important to openly speak about suicide and mental disorders?


Julia: At first, it is definitely difficult to open up and talk about mental health challenges. It was hard for me to talk about for a long time. I was always so embarrassed about my anxiety and depression.  I realize now that not opening up was actually preventing me from getting the help that I needed.  It ultimately delayed my recovery and the process of feeling better. Now I understand that there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to mental health challenges and they are much more common than I initially realized.


Once I started speaking more openly about my anxiety, depression, OCD, and started telling my brother’s story, I found that so many people around me were supportive and encouraging.  Because I opened up, many of them felt comfortable sharing their own struggles. 


If you are personally struggling to open up, please remember that 1 in 5 people are experiencing a mental health challenge, so it is likely that many friends and family are currently experiencing the same types of challenges.  You are not alone.


It’s critical that we continue to openly speak about mental health challenges, brain health, and suicide to demystify and destigmatize these topics.  As the conversation becomes less taboo, more people will be able to get the help they need and the suicide rate will decrease.  My brother was in so much pain and anguish, and his disease caused him to believe that the world would be better off without him.  This is absolutely not true and if you are also experiencing those negative thoughts, please know that this is 100% treatable by mental health doctors and professionals.  


I wish Justin was still with us, but I now dedicate my work to helping direct people to the right resources.  Those that are struggling need to know they aren’t alone.  I want to encourage anyone struggling to not wait until there’s a crisis to start taking care of their mental health, and I want to prevent other families from losing their loved ones to suicide. 


Mooditude: What advice do you have for family and friends who are trying to cope with the suicide of their loved one?


Julia: First of all, I just want you to know that I understand how you are feeling right now.  There are so many emotions that come when grieving any loss but especially with the death by suicide.  Some of those emotions include guilt, anger, confusion, fear, and deep sadness.  I cannot emphasize how important it is to give yourself grace during this time.


Here are some other tips:

  • Give yourself permission to honor your loved one in any way you choose.  Don’t feel bound to “traditions” if they don’t feel right.
  • Take care of your own mental health. Please don’t be afraid to seek out professional help to help you process this grief. 
  • Prepare yourself for questions so that they don’t come as a shock.  People might have the best intentions, but they might ask something that might catch you off guard and upset you.  It’s best to think about your responses prior so that you are prepared if anyone asks.
  • People will want to help you and might not know how.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help with anything from funeral planning to everyday chores / tasks.  Also, don’t be afraid to set boundaries if you need alone time.


Mooditude: What’s on the horizon for BroglieBox?


Julia: We have huge plans for growth in 2021 and beyond!  We have been working with several companies and organizations that have been sending boxes to support their employees' mental health as part of their internal corporate wellness initiatives.  We are also partnering with many universities and high schools to equip students with resources to support their mental health.


Mooditude: How can our readers support BroglieBox and the important work that you do?


Julia: Thank you so much!  Please feel free to follow us on social media @thebrogliebox or visit our website www.brogliebox.com


If your company, organization, or school would like to place a large order please feel free to email info@brogliebox.com 


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Thank you Julia for being vulnerable with us and helping to normalize the conversation around suicide and suicide prevention. Make some time for yourself or give the gift of mental self-care to a loved one and check out BroglieBox. 


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