The Hellenic Initiative Donates $50,000 to Promote Awareness and Well Being
June 15, 2022
Breathe: Mental Health Pioneers Offer a Spirit of Hope in Greece
Breathe is a remarkable non-profit organization that aims to have a measurable positive impact on the quality of life of individual Greeks and Greece as a whole, through promoting mental health.
The Hellenic Initiative, the global non-profit organization that unites Diaspora Greeks and Philhellenes to address current crises and invest in the future of Greece, has recently funded this program with $50,000. THI also supports Breathe’s broader mission: “Destigmatizing mental health, promoting self-care, and advocating for those who are silenced by any mental health issues.”
BREATHE was born out of Princess Tatiana’s passion and dedication to personal and social well-being, as well as from her own family’s experience having lost her father at a young age. The tragedy impacted her deeply and resulted in making it her mission to assist others struggling with their mental health.
Regarding the inspiration for Breathe, Tatiana said that, “we began this journey in February 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown. Everyone was in a state of uncertainty. I found myself consoling my friends and loved ones who would have never reached out to me for emotional support like they did then. Before the pandemic, I talked to people and we were told ‘there are no mental health issues’” in Greece, but the stresses of the pandemic proved the program’s worth. This was also reflected in Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ decision to appoint Deputy Minister Zoe Rapti to create a mental health department within the Ministry of Health.
Mental health still has a negative connotation in Greece, and raising awareness is a key part of Breathe’s mission. “Mental health is simply not something that is spoken about in Greece. There is still a stigma. The first step towards change is creating awareness around the issue,” Princess Tatiana said.
Breathe functions as an umbrella initiative, creating partnerships for impact around emotional well-being. While there are many partnerships in development, at this time Breathe supports two programs. The first is ‘Mila Mou – Talk to Me, Greece’s first teletherapy services. The Mila Mou platform, the first of its kind in Greece, is a service free to everyone.
Breathe’s second core program is Peak State, a mental fitness program that stands on the pillars of cognitive behavioural therapy and sports psychology. Peak State is a proactive approach to mental health. It consists of several tools, including mindfulness, breath work, and grounding.Participants go through steps that get them to talk about their everyday life state of mind and help them to focus on their mental fitness. Peak State’s philosophy is that the same way we train our bodies to be physically fit, is the same way we should train our brains to be mentally fit. The program encourages users to check-in with as many tools as often as they like.
“This partnership was made possible through Prince Harry, who champions Peak State, a program that was tested by Kings College and is currently used by a psychologist at the University of Athens,” Princess Tatiana said. One of the things she is adamant about is that “every program, every tool, every organization, every partnership needs to be evidence-based and scientifically proven – something that is ‘tried and true.’”
Andrew N. Liveris, THI Board Chairman, stated, “I’m a believer in the power of science to change the world. I appreciate Breathe’s approach in only partnering with programs that are research driven and that generate measurable results for individuals and society as a whole.”
George P. Stamas, THI Board President, stated, “THI values its partnership with Princess Tatiana in this very important societal program. We are pleased that it is a widespread tool, accessible to every person in Greece and the Diaspora. THI is proud to contribute.”
Tina Courpas, THI’s Executive Director, stated, “THI’s grant will help Breathe both provide teletherapy services and undertake a study with the University of Athens to measure the impact of these services. We look forward to seeing Breathe grow and expand its impact in Greece.”