How Sidewalk Talk Started
In Fall of 2014 Psychotherapists Lily Sloane of Lily Sloane Therapy and Traci Ruble of Psyched in San Francisco joined forces because they shared a vision: to help heal that which divides us through the fine art of skilled listening on the streets of San Francisco.
On May 7th 2015, in for 2 hours in 12 locations throughout San Francisco Lily, Traci, and 28 other listeners set up chairs and signs, offering to listen to any passerby who wanted to be seen and heard if only for a few minutes.
We didn't know exactly what was going to happen when we set up our chairs and offered our listening ears. That's what was so exciting this project. We wanted to take this risk because we could feel a collective stir to evolve the way we interact around mental health, connection and community and we wanted to be part of it.
People took us up on the offer! And even those who didn't sit were visibly impacted (joyous, relieved, confused, anxious) by our presence. The media got interested and joined us with microphones and cameras. People from cities all around the country started asking us how they can make Sidewalk Talk happen in their communities. We had really landed on something.
Immediately after our first event we were contacted by Brooke Dooley producer of the film Listen who wanted to bring Sidewalk Talk to the streets of LA before the end of Mental Health Awareness Month. On May 26th, just a few weeks later, Sidewalk Talk LA was born which grabbed the attention of the Los Angeles mayor's office and the LA Times.
Traci Ruble and the team at Psyched in San Francisco are now producing Sidewalk Talk while Lily focuses her energies on her new podcast, "A Therapist Walks Into a Bar". What makes Sidewalk Talk a unique endeavor is that over 80% of our listener volunteers are psychotherapists, psychologists or mental health care workers. Often times when folks sit down and talk it is the very first time they have ever come in contact with a therapist.
Learn more about where to find us by visiting our Cities page. If you don't see your city listed, consider becoming a city leader.
Sidewalk Talk is now being produced by Traci and Psyched in San Francisco Psychotherapy Center in partnership with other counseling centers , psychotherapists, listening projects and artists.
Sidewalk Talk is a nonprofit entity fiscally sponsored by SocialGood Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization (EIN: 46-1323531).