What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?

I grew up in a “high demand” religion where there was no such thing as depression or anxiety. If you experienced any of these emotions, you needed to reach out to the church to point you in the right direction to let God help you overcome them. The church clergy were untrained in any sort of mental health education or therapy. That being said, many of them told me to pull myself up by my bootstraps. It took me years to figure out that what I was experiencing was depression. I broke from the ecclesiastical grips and sought help from my doctor. This was the first step towards my mental health recovery.

 


 

What resources have helped you to address this challenge?

I found many resources online. At first, I sought out religious articles and videos. But the resources I found most helpful were genuine people talking about what they were experiencing and how they overcame those challenges. I found more in common with these people, and it helped me tremendously. I also spend a lot of time researching and learning about my family’s mental health. As I dug into this, I realized that what I had was not caused by myself. It was something that many people in my family had experienced. This helped me recognize the behaviors that I would see in myself.

 

Based on your experience, how can we work to build resilience in ourselves, our loved ones, and in our communities to better face life’s challenges?

Finding your community is really important. People telling stories about their own struggles helped me come to terms with my own. Creating a space where people feel comfortable to talk about these things is important to help overcome them.

 

What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?

Mental health is not your fault. But it is your responsibility to take care of your mental health.