The purpose of this page is to answer some frequently asked questions, and to let you know more about who we are -- and who we are not.
Who are we? How do I know you are a legitimate charity
We are an Australian registered charity called Dancing With The Black Dog. You can view our entry here on the register of the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission to whom we provide annual financial reports.
Does Dancing With The Black Dog have any paid directors, employees or contractors?
The Founder and sole Director of Dancing With The Black Dog takes no payment whatsoever from the charity. We do have a small number of casual employees who are paid to process the orders we receive. Each of them has signed a confidentiality deed, and all amounts paid to them are declared to the relevant local tax authorities. There are absolutely no cash in hand payments - all payments made to these employees are fully auditable via our bank statements and employee payment records. In line with our reporting requirements to Consumer Affairs, Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission and the Australian Tax Office, all our records are electronic and fully traceable.
Are you affiliated with any other charities?
We are not affiliated with Beyond Blue, R U OK? Day, The Black Dog Institute, SANE, Lifeline, MIND, The Rainbow Trust, Headspace, Heads Together or any other mental health charity. It is, however, our longer term intention to approach several mental health charities around the world, to seek their endorsement, and in return to share proceeds with them. And so far we have donated over A$33,000 to Beyond Blue in Australia.
What are your proceeds currently being spent on?
For now, all proceeds and all direct donations to us, are going towards raising further awareness of our initiative. This may involve anything from social media to newspaper or radio campaigns, or any other creative ways we come up with to spread awareness of our cause, and depending on how successful we become.
So what's itsoktsay.org all about?
It's OK To Say If You Don't Feel OK was established in 2015, and is a global mental health initiative being run by our charity. We gave it its own URL to make it easy to remember and find. Through this initiative, we are creating a worldwide symbol for mental health. The name stems from public talks that our founder Mark Pacitti has carried out where he closes off with the statement "it is one of my greatest hopes, as a result of actions we can all take today, that our children, and our children's children, can all grow up in a world where it feels ok to say if you don't feel ok". This is the very clear message we are aiming to get across; we cannot think of a better or more catchy way to say it.
Where can I buy the black dog lapel pins, stickers and badges?
Currently they are only available to buy online at www.itsoktosay.org – though postage and packaging is free, worldwide, and payment is via PayPal to avoid foreign currency complications. We will also soon be approaching various retail outlets to make enquiries about selling them in-store.
Where are you based?
We are based in Melbourne, Australia. We are also in the process of setting up in the UK.
Why Dancing With The Black Dog?
The black dog is a term that many say Winston Churchill popularised as a euphemism for his own depression. Dancing With The Black Dog started off in 2011 as a blog, which evolved into a free online book. In it, our founder openly tells the story of how he fought and ultimately beat anxiety and depression. The black dog is a widely-used euphemism for depression, popularised but not invented by Sir Winston Churchill. We also chose "dancing" because we like to think of a battle with mental illness as being like a dance-off. You move here, you move there, up, down, all around trying to outwit the black dog, but as long as you keep staring the beast in the eye, there is hope. You can win the dance-off.
The black dog is only a euphemism for depression, not anxiety or any other mental illness.
That's true – and that is what makes it such a good symbol to use. After all, we are creating a symbol for awareness of depression and anxiety. Not depression and the flu.
Why do you not provide any additional mental health services?
We are a small but growing charity with a global outlook. We are focusing on our It's OK To Say If You Don't Feel OK campaign, however we do have links to the mental health services of other organisations around the world on our Get Help Now page. This in case anyone is on our website and wonders where they can get immediate help.
Why do you only have 1 or 2 mental health services per country on your Get Help Now page?
To avoid clutter and provide ease of access. We are not affiliated in any way with the other organisations listed on our Get Help Now page, but we have made them aware we have listed them.
Why are you targeting the vulnerable who need help, not a lapel pin?
This is most certainly not what we are doing. We are actually "targeting" anyone who would like to help silently convey our message -- whether they suffer from a mental illness or not. Wearing the black dog symbol does not mean you are saying "I suffer from anxiety or depression and it's ok to say if you don't feel ok". Rather, it means you are saying "it's ok to say if you don't feel ok".
How do I know you are not a money-making scam?
We are a registered charity, with obligations to submit annual financial statements to the ACNC. We have been video endorsed by several prominent actors, singers and sports personalities who have been willing to put their name to our cause (links to the videos can be found at www.itsoktosay.org.) We became a registered charity in August 2015 when we started up It's OK To Say If You Don't Feel OK. But we have been around since 2011 raising awareness and offering hope. Currently all proceeds and donations are going towards raising further awareness of our cause. If you're not convinced, follow us, watch us! You'll see...