By Clara Williams
Garrow Miles, a 22 year-old senior at the University of Mississippi, recently began a floral arrangement business that not only raises awareness for mental health, but also serves as a therapeutic outlet for her own enjoyment.
“Garrow’s Garden” began as a personal venture for Miles last year, and was inspired by her own struggles with mental health. As young girl, Miles would spent her afternoons playing in the backyard, making bouquets from the assorted weeds and flowers she could find in the dirt.
“I felt it was therapeutic. Even though my life seemed out of control and messy, I could make something beautiful and intentional that sparked light throughout a room,” she said.
Miles’ passion for raising awareness for mental health began at a young age when she began to realize that something was not quite right. Growing up in a small town, it was difficult for outsiders to understand that mental health was a real medical issue in her family.
“We were not crazy, we were not weak, and we were not alone. I decided to turn my mindset around from questioning ‘why me’ or ‘why a family member,’ to being determined to make a difference,” Miles said.
Since creating this business, Miles said she has seen a positive impact on the Oxford community and the Ole Miss campus. Her favorite moment with Garrow’s Garden was her recent partnership with Active Minds for Mental Health Awareness Day. Miles spent the day handing out free flowers in the circle, and enjoyed talking to those who wanted to share their stories. The idea when someone received a flower was that one would then pay it forward to someone else.
“We were so excited to team up with Garrow for Mental Health Week,” said Active Minds President, Nikki Sullivan. “Garrow’s desire to use her creative gifts to spread positivity and help other people is inspiring.”
Miles is looking forward to expanding her business by doing bigger events in the near future, as well as launching a website after graduating this May. Currently, the best way to place an order is through Garrow’s Instagram page, @garrows_garden.
Miles said she owes her success to God, family, and close friends who have helped and supported her throughout this journey.
“God has had his hands over this adventure before I even had the vision for it. There is absolutely no way it would have blossomed the way it has without Him,” she said.
Miles’ love language of gift-giving is an outlet that she never imagined would flourish into an opportunity to spread awareness for a cause so dear to her heart.
“I was and am determined to play a part in removing the shame of mental health battles, and to promote those battling to seek out the proper help that they need,” Miles said.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues, please contact SAMHS’s national hotline – 1-800-662-HELP. If you live in or near the Oxford area and would like to seek help, do not hesitate to contact Oxford Counseling Center at 662-371-1711, or reach out to Mississippi’s Mental Health Department at 1-877-210-8513.