Mental Health and the Importance of Storytelling

By April Haggart, Young Canadians Roundtable on Health

Mental health is not an easy topic to open up about.  It is not easy for a person who is battling it, or for their families to talk about it. What people going through their own battles do not know is the power behind their own stories.  Each story is a journey that not only empowers others to open up, but it can also educate people on mental health and illness.

I learned this through my own battle with depression. I found that my own story, my own journey, is inspirational to others. It educates my family and friends about mental health. However, while I discovered that there are resources for families of teens and children who have a mental illness, there is a lack of resources for families with children 21 years and older. 

After experiencing depression between 2012 and 2014 and realizing the lack of resources and education for adults to learn what their loved one is going through, an idea was sparked in me. Two years later, I started the My Story Movement on Facebook. 

My Story is a place for individuals who are fighting, have fought or lost someone to mental illness to come share their stories. Their stories shed light into their own struggles. We focus on hope and the positives in people's stories, and how they have been able to get better and improve themselves. 

We are never alone. We are all in this together.  Our stories are our own to tell. We all have strength inside ourselves to open up. 

If you are not ready to share your story publicly, start with your family and friends. It actually gives them insight into what your triggers are, what works and what does not work for you. It will take time for them to learn. They will have questions. They will ask how they can help you. It is okay to tell them if all you need is to have someone listen.  It will be a learning curve not only for them, but also for you. 

This is your life, your journey, your story. It will have an impact and motivate others to open up.

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About the Author

April Haggart is the founder of the My Story Movement on Facebook. She is combining her recreation background and passion for mental health awareness in hopes of inspiring youth about the impact their own stories can have on others.