+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy

jewel the portal

Celebrity

Jewel makes waves in mental health field with album release 'The Portal' and new company

"It started with me just sort of dropping to my knees at 40 and saying, 'I just don't know how to move forward.'"

Photo by Brendan Walter via Shorefire Press Release

Jewel makes waves in mental health field with 'The Portal'

Mental health is something that is just recently starting to be understood in a different light. In previous years you'd hear the term mental health and think about all the negative stereotypes that came along with it. But as people learn more and become more open about their own mental health challenges, public perception is shifting to a more compassionate response.

One person who is no stranger to compassion is the 90s icon, Jewel. When she first stubbled on the scene in the mid 90s she had no intention on becoming a music superstar with music that continues to encourage millions to be compassionate, kind humans. Recently Jewel spoke with Upworthy about the impact her music makes on people and her many projects, including the imprint she's leaving on the mental health field.


"My fans calling themselves the Every Day Angels, was just this movement in my fanbase of like how can they answer miracles for other people. Not miracles, maybe that's not the right word but answer prayers or just help basically. That it doesn't take some huge heroic nonprofit. It's just about being kind and paying attention to what your community needs," Jewel said in an interview with Upworthy.

Photo courtesy of Shorefire

Paying attention to community needs is exactly what Jewel has been doing when she's not busy writing soul touching music, singing, creating art or hangin out with her son Kase. The Grammy nominated singer has been quietly working on an immersive art exhibit that was recently unveiled at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The exhibit aptly titled "The Portal" transcends viewers into a world that melds together art, mental health and technology in a way that sort of forces you to slow down to absorb what's around you. Each piece created has a special meaning to the artist and tells a journey of her own healing as she moved through the healing process after her divorce from rodeo cowboy Ty Murray.

"The journey of my healing the last 10 years was sort of everything I put into that art experience. It started with me just sort of dropping to my knees at 40 and saying, 'I just don't know how to move forward. I need to learn a new way,' and asking for help. For me that's what the hologram represents. It's sort of the answer to that prayer," Jewel reveals.

Photo courtesy of Shorefire

The EP, which carries the same title as the exhibit, essentially brings that part of the exhibit into public view. It's a unique mix of guided meditation and music that coincides with a drone powered light show at Crystal Bridges. But with the EP released to the public, people can experience the beautiful amalgamation in the comfort of their own homes.

It takes the sounds of real life and places them in the background as Jewel guides you through meditation. The slow beating of a heart is palpable forcing your nervous system to slow down as she moves you through letting go of the troubles of the day before heading into an upbeat song.

"The meditation at the beginning with the heartbeat, there's no light show during that. That's just a two minute audio meditation that works with people's nervous systems. I chose a heart rate that's probably slower than more peoples are at," Jewel tells Upworthy. "When we hear a heartbeat and we hear a heartbeat rate our own physiology because of mirror neurons, your physiology starts to respond."

Photo courtesy of Shorefire

The singer tells Upworthy that her goal with the drone show coupled with the guided meditation was to create the posture of awe. It's the posture people take when they see something awe inspiring, she descries it as when someone looks up with their mouth agape taking in something beautiful. Jewel says this awe posture is something that she witnessed during the eclipse as New Yorkers stopped to see the moon pass in front of the sun.

But the art exhibit is hardly the only thing Jewel is currently working on. The multi-platinum artist is co-headlining a tour with Melissa Etheridge and has co-founded a new mental health platform called Innerworld.

Innerworld is bridging the gap in mental health care through its virtual platform. Jewel cofounded the company with Noah Robinson who is also the CEO of the platform that integrates technology with mental health to provide affordable and accessible mental health options for people who may be lacking accesses or need additional supports.

Innerworld allows users to access the platform via virtual reality headsets, which serves a deeper purpose according to Robinson.

"My realization that I was gay at the age of 13 led me into a deep depression and I escaped by living in an online virtual world as an anonymous avatar for over 10,000 hours. I found a community that saved my life and gave me the courage to come out of the closet.

My experience led me to wonder: instead of designing virtual worlds like casinos to trap people with hits of dopamine, what if psychologists could build a mental health app to help people come back to reality more empowered than they left it? That’s why we created Innerworld: to translate scientifically validated mental health tools into a 24/7 community where everyone can get the help they need."

Photo by Dana Trippe via Shorefire Press Release

The mental health platform created by Robinson and Jewel has different tiers starting at free and currently capping out at $120 a month. Each tier provides users with different levels of support with the highest tier giving users access to licensed mental health professionals along with everything else that's available in the lower tiers. Affordability and accessibility were both crucial to the singer.

"We knew we wanted to create a mental health intervention platform that was based in science, that was tracking clinical outcomes. We are a clinical research platform and we knew we wanted to do something that scaled and something that was affordable," Jewel says. "For us it was coming up with something that could meet everybody's needs but still being very affordable."

Listen to "The Portal" below:

So, if you're keeping up, Jewel has been painting, sculpting, mothering, writing, singing, preparing for a tour, and creating a virtual mental health platform. But she isn't one to make it seem like she's able to do it all without help from others. The singer was very clear that she relies on her village to help her and sometimes she has to chose what is more important to her in that moment, which may be refreshing for other working moms to hear.

All these ripples of kindness and empathy coming from the singer isn't the least bit surprising. Here's hoping that these ripples turn into waves of change in the world of mental health accessibility and the embracing of preventative mental health measures through meditation, art and other forms of healing.