When you think of all the ways we as a society define mental health, it's a pretty big tent. Maybe you get anxious and easily overwhelmed at work; it doesn't happen every day, but when it does, you can't concentrate. Perhaps you carry with you a formal diagnosis of bipolar disorder or clinical depression. Maybe you're just beginning to tease apart what it all means, or maybe you've been coping with your diagnosis for years. Whatever your symptoms, diagnosis or history, you fall along a spectrum of mental health that includes everything from anxiety to depression, eating disorders to seasonal affective disorder. The one place you don't want to be on that spectrum, however, is alone.
Going it alone means you're taking full responsibility for managing your stress and symptoms – and the rest of your life – without any support. It's just too much.
Like asthma or diabetes, mental illness is serious and deserves proper attention and treatment. If you've found help and support, we applaud you. You're paving the way for others like you who deserve easy access to services, and an open dialogue within the community. For those of you who are suffering in silence, we encourage you to seek help. It's not easy to punch through your own judgments and disappointments about what you're experiencing – nor is it easy to overcome the stigma of mental illness, which, though diminished over the years, still exists.
Whether you're suffering from mental illness, or you're the child, sibling or friend of someone with mental illness, support is out there. You don't have to go it alone.