Stories Shared Create Safe Space

Demonstrate Caring Online, Make a Difference Offline

Nicole Herbig and her partner, Maggie Rose, at RE|BORN are acutely aware of the different world they're experiencing as a result of growing up not only as digital natives, but at the cusp of another industrial revolution.

Her story isn't unique in that many young people have experience with mental health issues in their families. But her story is unique in that she sees this online social world for the impacts it's having on her peers, and she's doing something about it.

In this episode, Nicole and I share stories of our experiences with that disconnection our community members are feeling as a result of trying to replace face-to-face relationships with online relationships. In our discussion, we come to the conclusion that when we are intentional and caring in our activities on social media, we can translate that creation of safe space into an in-person safe space.

Toward the end of our conversation, we shared stories about the role music plays in how we connect with our own feelings, and to others around us. I mentioned a song our older son shared with me in his early teen years, and if I hadn't had the realization I needed to be fully present when he shared it, I might have missed an important opportunity to better understand him at that time in his life:

As is usually the case, the story I shared triggered a memory for Nicole, one about how music helped her look past her own discomfort with her mother's mental illness, to reach out to her and work toward improving their relationship:


Nicole's story is one we're going to hear more and more in the coming decades, and it makes me hopeful that younger generations are seeing the digital disconnect and finding ways to leverage these powerful tools to address big issues in mental health.

I write a lot about the disconnect between us and our human nature, particularly related to our dependence on our virtual connections. To read one of these articles, click here.

If you write on topics related to suicide, there are great resources available to make sure you are doing more good than harm. As a relatively uninformed professional on this topic, I use this website, ReportingSuicide.Org as a resource.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - Call 1–800–273–8255
Available 24 hours everyday

Nicole Herbig is days away from completing her bachelor degree in counseling psychology at Pillar College in New Jersey - with a 4.0 GPA. She's also full of creative energy and ambition, working to help address mental health issues in a way only a digital native can - using the constantly adaptive tools of technology at her fingertips. Learn more about Nicole and connect with her on LinkedIn, and visit the RE|BORN in its infancy, as she and her partner, Maggie Rose, continue to develop the mission and vision of this innovative project.