May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The goal of this over-60-year-old tradition is to raise awareness of mental illness, what life is like for those with mental health conditions, and how to improve mental health and wellness. In addition, another aim is to reduce the stigma around mental health conditions by acknowledging both their prevalence and their wide range of presentations and severity.
A friend of mine who has battled depression used Mental Health Awareness Month as an opportunity to release a vlog about his journey. What’s beautiful about this is not only is he creating a platform to #endthestigma by telling his followers what depression looks like for him, but he’s also empowering and normalizing others who suffer.
One of my favorite expressions is “People will amaze you if you give them the chance.” What I mean by that is if we take the time to know and understand someone whose experience seems different than our own, we will never see them the same way we used to. We will instead find a filter of appreciation or a lens of compassion.
This TEDx at Penn State University gave me just the opportunity to test my theory. Will you test it this month too?