“Be confused, it’s where you begin to learn new things. Be broken, it’s where you begin to heal. Be frustrated, it’s where you start to make more authentic decisions. Be sad, because if we are brave enough we can hear our heart’s wisdom through it. Be whatever you are right now. No more hiding, you are worthy, always”
– S.C. Lourie.
I love that quote because it speaks so highly on the stigma of mental illness. At an early age of 13, I knew that I wanted to be a psychologist. I knew that I wanted to help people in that way. I never truly had a personal experience with mental health or illness at that point, but something in me was set on the idea. During my sophomore year of college, I was going back-and-forth about my career decision. I was in the middle of taking my psychology courses, and not gonna lie, they were kicking my butt. I was really struggling with this idea, and if it was what I was really put on this earth to do.
Not long after, my friend committed suicide. After experiencing and seeing all those people grieving and going through heartbreak from losing someone so close to them, I thought about how an event like this could severely affect their mental health. It made me think if there could have been a different outcome, had the negative idea of being depressed and having anxiety was changed from being seen as weakness and shame— especially for males, and black males at that— to being okay, and the next step would be to seek for help.
When that happened, I knew that God wanted me to pursue this. I believe that every single living person deals with some kind of mental challenge. Obviously, some on a higher scale than others, but it happens. I want to help lower and diminish the rates of suicide, depression, anxiety and other mental health related illnesses. There needs to be more exploration and pursuit of knowledge with mental health. More speaking, more awareness. More acceptance, more compassion. We’re all in this together.