“I didn’t want to just put out an album, I wanted to create positive change.”
Nearly 75 percent of young adults surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they experienced a mental health issue due to the pandemic.
The BLKBX Project was conceived by Grace Gaustad, a 19-year-old recording artist, to unlock those “black boxes” many of our teens keep deeply hidden. As an artist, she was able to begin to express herself through writing and composing songs that tell the stories so many teens struggle with such as depression, self-doubt, loneliness, and peer pressure.
The BLKBX Project aims to provide a safe place for teens to access resources and support. Here, they choose how to forge a path by learning three core principles: LISTEN, LEARN, ACT. By connecting through music and on-demand resources, users can navigate tools and topics that speak to their own struggles. Resources to take the next step are offered but not imposed. This unique mix of personal narrative empowers teens to seek help while giving them the autonomy to do it on their own, leading to a greater sense of self-worth.
Grace’s album, BLKBX: wht r u hding?, puts a personal touch on enormous topics. Each song covers a specific issue from Grace’s childhood, including body dysmorphia and sexual identity, as well as navigating relationships, peer pressure and the transition into adulthood. The songs are brought to life through a series of thirteen music videos, which provide snippets of real life scenarios. The videos focus on moments in Grace’s mental health journey, like “93 Days” where Grace is shown seeing her therapist and encourages her friend to try talk therapy, helping to de-stigmatize the process of finding a therapist and beginning therapy.
Grace envisioned The BLKBX PROJECT as a companion to her album, hoping to connect teens with art and information that validate their feelings and frame a path towards healing. With the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many teens retreated inward, amplifying the already confusing world they exist in. Grace was motivated to help by joining together with therapist Jaz Robbins and multiple nonprofit organizations that provide services to teens experiencing trauma. Weaving in Grace's own music, the BLKBX Project helps teens self-direct to the elements within their black boxes in order to find their path to healing.
A national PSA campaign highlights these important issues, offering teens the resources available to them at BLKBXProject.org including:
This unique combination of music, personal narrative, expert discussion, and mental health resources makes BLKBX a critical, and unique safe space for teens.
BLKBX: wht r u hding is a project geared towards anyone who ever felt different for any reason. After receiving thousands of messages from teens all around the world telling me how BLKBX: wht r u hding saved their life, helped them come out to parents & friends, taught them self love, and most importantly, that none of us are alone, I consider the project a massive success.
My mom always told me that if you save one life, you save the world.
PSA Campaign results
Markets included: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle (2 stations), Minneapolis, Sacramento, Portland, St. Louis, Raleigh (2 stations), Indianapolis, Nashville, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Austin, Albuquerque, Providence, Mobile, Albany, Knoxville, Lexington, Spokane, Des Moines, Green Bay, Charleston, Colorado Springs, Chattanooga, Shreveport, Champaign, Savannah, Boise, Lincoln, Reno, Ft. Wayne, Youngstown, Macon, Lafayette, Bakersfield, La Crosse, Joplin and Lake Charles