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Why Do We Fear Speaking Out?

Being a public advocate for mental health often means it is a requirement to share your personal story revolving around it. Many people fear doing this, even on a casual level. Especially teens and young adults. Some people are very open about their issues and expressing themselves…but for others, it’s not so easy, is it? I have constantly struggled my whole life with expressing myself and my emotions. As a child I had an intense fear the reactions and judgements I might receive, I fear the possibility of being terribly misunderstood by those around me. Even now, as a young adult I struggle with the same things. Those are all normal worries and stressors, but let’s really think about it for a moment.

Imagine a world in which everyone was open about their mental health. Whether it be the cashier at your favorite store, or your best friend of 10 years. Everyone in the world willingly shared what they have gone through or what they are going through. Now tell yourself how many people you think will still hold a stigma about mental health. Zero, right? Because if everyone in the world is talking about it and normalizing it, as well as providing all the resources that the people need, nobody would even question it. THAT is the goal.

It’s Mental Health Month this May, so let’s make talking about mental health as normal as getting a monthly checkup at the clinic. Let’s make it as normal as breathing air and drinking water. It’s okay to be afraid, but facing those fears in order to change the world will be well worth it in the end

Emily Gunning
Youth Engagement Coordinator

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