Sarah And Beth Fukumoto
Ringo Starr (with a little help from John, Paul and George, of course) got it right when he sang, “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.”
That is the concept behind Beth and Sarah Fukumoto’s newly launched Web site, http://www.ahopedeferred.org. Created in October, A Hope Deferred is a community support system to which anyone dealing with depression or suicidal tendencies can turn in times of pervasive sadness, madness, fear or hopelessness.
“We were both in separate places and going through what was probably one of the worst times in both of our lives,” Beth says. “It was during that time that we both saw the need for a different kind of support community.”
Beth, 26, and Sarah, 21, have both dealt with depression. They say that even though they were surrounded by family and friends who cared for them, the feeling of loneliness never went away.
“I thought nobody really understood exactly what was going on,” Sarah says, “and it was hard to see all these people who really cared almost seem like they were giving up.”
“One of the most necessary steps in coping with depression is being able to put a name or a face on the pain you’re feeling,” says Beth, who hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in American studies in 2011. “We believe the process of creating art helps facilitate the more-important process of making pain tangible in a constructive way, in a way that allows you to heal.”
“But,” adds Sarah, “it’s definitely meant to enhance rather than replace traditional therapy. We don’t want anyone to stop seeing their therapist because they started reading or submitting to our site.”
In fact, the sisters say they would like to see more therapists and other professionals in the community offer advice on ways of improving their site.
“We’ve started working with some professors and graduate students as well as a couple of therapists who are directing patients to the site,” says Sarah, who is currently working toward a double major in psychology and speech at UH Manoa.
With plans to expand operations in 2010, the Mililani natives say they’ll need all the help they can get. Visit the Web site for ways to get involved; or, if you want to give a little help to a friend, submit a positive message, art piece, song - whatever is on your mind.
“Your posts don’t need to be perfect!” Beth says. “We’ve been getting a lot of people saying they’re taking a lot of time to write stuff or they’re too intimidated because everyone else’s stuff looks so good. We don’t want people to have that fear at all. In this case, imperfect can be much better than perfect.”
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