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Orchard Park woman tries to change mental illness narrative

Emily Geiger, a college senior, is hoping to turn her hardships into an opportunity to help others.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A 21-year old Grove City College student, Emily Geiger, is a young entrepreneur with big ambitions. 

"The ultimate goal is that I want to open up my own storefront," Geiger said.

The Orchard Park native is the founder of a clothing line and self-care brand called Be Kind to Your Mind.

She told 2 on Your Side what started as a school assignment is turning into something much bigger than she could've predicted. 

Now you can find her clothing, jewelry and healing products on her website and in some stores locally. 

"I had a project where we had to create a t-shirt line and we were encouraged to kind of be creative, think about what we're passionate about," said Geiger.

She found her passion is helping others dealing with mental illness.

"I struggled for a while but it wasn't until my freshman year of college that it became an actual really big problem," she said. "I went through something called conversion disorder. A lot of people don't know what that is. It's basically when you're so stressed out that parts of your body basically stop working, shutting down."

Geiger said, with time, what saved her was diving into her faith and seeking counseling.

"I kind of hold to the belief that if you have gone through something difficult and you make it out of there, you have an obligation to help others who were in your place," she said.

That's why the website also includes a blog covering topics ranging from depression and anxiety to love and happiness.

Also, each item includes words of inspiration, right down to the tag.

The tag includes a note from Emily that reads in part, "Be Kind to Your Mind is my love letter to those struggling with mental illness so they know that they are loved and that there is hope."

A portion of the proceeds is donated to Horizon Health Services, a nonprofit that serves more 22-thousand Western New Yorkers each year with behavioral health and addiction treatment.

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