Being a part of a fandom can stretch far beyond just a shared interest. Joining a group can help you gain new experiences and meet new people. The Supernatural fandom is one that takes the family aspect of fandom seriously–I mean, we call ourselves the Supernatural Family, for Chuck’s sake. One of the core beliefs of this fandom is that family don’t end in blood, and that certainly extends to the other members of the fandom. Part of being a family means supporting one another when we’re in crisis.
Last year, Jared launched his Always Keep Fighting campaign where you could buy a tee to help support causes like To Write Love On Her Arms that gave assistance and support to those struggling with mental illness, self-harm, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or anything else like that. Later, Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster did another campaign to raise money for Random Acts with their Wayward Daughters fundraiser. More recently, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins, together with Random Acts, TWLOHA, and IMAlive, ran yet another T-Shirt campaign–the You Are Not Alone campaign–to raise money to launch a crisis support network just for the Supernatural family. And wonderfully, the crisis support network is live and ready to help any SPN family members that need support.
What exactly is this crisis support network? Essentially, it’s a network of helpers that are there for the Supernatural family 24/7, whenever they’re needed. Trained fandom members are there to chat with any member of the fandom in need of someone to talk to, be it about addiction, self-harm, suicide, or something else. Not only are there 24/7 support systems for American fans through the crisis network from anything to emergency services, live chats, or hotlines, but they also have resources for international members of the SPN Family, too.
The ultimate goal is to be a wide-reaching resource for Supernatural fans anywhere in the world to use when they need a lifeline, and to be able to staff the crisis support network with a large amount of trained volunteers armed with a lengthy list of resources and other outlets that the Supernatural family member in crisis can physically reach out to once they sign off with the Supernatural crisis support network.
The network is still in its early stages, but you can head to their website to get access to help, to donate to the network, or to become a volunteer. They also make it quite easy to to find a way to help the network in a way that works for you, your time, and your budget. You can get more info when you click the giant “I want to help” button on the site. Even better, thanks to Random Acts, IMAlive will train any interested, qualified, and eligible volunteers on how to respond to crisis calls and offer support to fellow SPN Family members for free.
Whether you’re a part of the Supernatural fandom or not, I think we can all agree that there’s a weird–you might even say profound–bond between you and your fellow fandom members. It’s so easy to bond and make new friends thanks to a shared interest (or obsession, whatevs), and it can be easy to take that shared interest and form some serious friendships. It’s exciting to watch a fandom branch out from fandom-centric stuff to creating a giant support network for any fans that might need help peppered with a healthy knowledge of monster lore and the importance of keeping salt and pure iron on you at all times.
Have you helped out with the Supernatural crisis network? Not a big Supernatural fan? How have your favorite fandoms reached out beyond fandom stuff to help others? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Image credit: Nina Hellebakken Hagen/DeviantArt.com