Worth Living Ambassador Chaz White

I’m just a 26 year old bearded dude that can be seen driving around in my Jeep with the top and doors off trying to keep my Blue Heeler pup “Rubi” from jumping out at your car as we pass. I suffer from and have Bipolar, OCD, ADHD, and Anxiety. I believe in community, storytelling, meds, and therapy as a path to recovery and healthily managing mental illness.

Caution: This post discusses suicide and self-harm.

So much of my life has been shrouded in darkness, consumed by thoughts I couldn’t control and overwhelmed by anxiety. However, piece by piece, year by year, I kept progressing towards the very simple idea that it’s a good thing to be alive and that I should celebrate that. While this story of mine isn’t filled with giant triumphs, lighting strikes, or one specific moment that changed the course of my life. It is an honest take on what recovery and hope have looked like for me personally.

I haven’t cut or self- harmed in 11 years which I celebrate. I also celebrate anybody on day one or week one because that’s how 11 years happens. One day at a time. So let’s, you and I, first make one thing extremely clear. Recovery happens one day at a time which builds into weeks, months, and then years. Don’t ever feel shame for being on hour one, day one, or week one. Your victory is your victory and as bad as it is to let someone else lessen that, it’s even worse to let your own brain dampen the celebration party, so celebrate today for whatever stage you’re in!

However, at the same time for me, until six months ago, I was still begging a God I was losing faith in to take my life and end my suffering. All I could focus on was everything mental illness took from me. My record deal, the friends I left, the girl friends I hurt, the family members I let down, and most painfully the judgement I was placing on myself. I was consumed with negative thoughts but I didn’t want to commit suicide anymore (this was a victory for me! Not winning the entire war, but still a victory!).  I just didn’t want to be alive in the first place.

Here’s where I would love to say that I started yoga/weightlifting/met the “right person”/Jesus/started meditating/or something culturally relevant had saved my life and gave me hope! However, even though I do go to the gym (when possible), I was a pastor, I do meditate, I am married, and I even read cheesy self- help books which all left me tired with a feeling that I had expended all options to no avail. I had no hope to hold onto until I met my current doc/therapist.

It was therapy, real, legit, hard, sometimes painful, therapy that gave me hope. Yes I take meds that do keep me stable and checked off all the aforementioned “solutions” to mental illness but it was therapy made me want to live again. Therapy gave me a space of peace within the war silently raging inside my head. Therapy taught me I wasn’t crazy, wasn’t bad, wasn’t a failure, wasn’t less than anyone else, and that I was just another human. Another human sucking down oxygen from innocent trees that was allowed to be broken but also allowed to have hope.

If I’m honest, it feels anticlimactic not to have a big bold claim about something that made my life worth living. I’m not out saving orphans, I’m not suddenly going on tour playing music, I’m not a vegan yogi, I’m not even back in school like I dream to be but what I’ve learned in therapy has shifted the paradigm in my head. I spent my high school years cutting myself for a myriad of reasons. I spent my early twenties having moved past the desire to self-harm only to meet the desire to have never been born in the first place. At 26, I can honestly say that I want to live and therapy gave me the peace, acceptance, and ability to feel this way.

I may not wake up every day like Captain America (insert super hero of your choice here) and I may feel much more like Dead Pool (insert self -deprecating and begrudging hero here) but I am at least thankful to be alive. Thankful I can play guitar and sing with the audience of my faithful and energetic Blue Heeler pup. Thankful for the many the breaths I inhaled while writing this. And quite bluntly, I’m just thankful I believe life is Worth Living because of the fruit that hard work in therapy produces.

Find your path to recovery and fight for a life worth living in which you can believe. It will probably look nothing like mine on paper but I’m rooting for you every step of the way as are all the Worth Living Ambassadors and the mental health community at large.

You can win this war inside your head that was never asked for, you can feel hope, you can believe that your life is Worth Living.

Here’s to you and the story you’ll tell someday about what recovery looked like in your life!

NOTE: If you, a family member, friend, or colleague is experiencing  thoughts of suicide or distress, call 911 now.
Other resources:
Canada- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention  http://Suicide Prevention
USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom   http://NHS





Worth Living Ambassador Cynthia Rizzo

I am a 23 year old Latina, born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Former film student at Vancouver Film School. Currently navigating her way through the storm with a hot chocolate and two reluctant cats.  Writes poetry, currently in the process of writing a short film,  and planning a third visit to Europe.

Caution: This post discusses suicide.

My experience with my mental illness has been chaotic over the years. As much as I tried to cope with it or pretend I’m okay, there was no question that I still didn’t and still don’t know how to properly manage it.

It wasn’t entirely my fault thinking I could just ignore it. I kind of had to. My father for a brief time didn’t believe in mental illness or anything close to it. He would tell me that it’s all in my head and to bottle up my feelings.

“There is no reason to be sad.”

“Why are you crying?”

“You are not depressed, it’s all in your head.”

Without even noticing, my mood and my overall health declined rapidly. Whatever darkness that lurked inside had finally broke free.

I started to feel suicidal and would do anything I could to put myself in danger.

I was reckless and untamed and it felt good.

But it scared me. This wasn’t me. I knew I needed help, but I refused to get it.

All it took to turn things around was an overdose and everything my dad thought he knew about mental illness changed drastically.

When I finally understood what I just did, I ran to him, told him what I had done and the next thing I knew, I was being taken into the emergency room.

I remember the tears that fell from my dad’s eyes. He was terrified and full of sorrow. I, in all my life, have never seen my father, this stoic man cry. Not even once.

He blamed himself and he still does at times for how bad it got. If he had supported me earlier, maybe things would have been different.

My dad’s attitude and frankly, my whole family, changed their outlook on mental illness in general that day.  And for that I’ll always be grateful. I just wished it didn’t have to be like that.

It hasn’t gotten any easier but I’m still learning, and I still slip up at times. And this past year was a slip up.
I was faced with so many challenges and agony that I attempted suicide two more times.

Luckily, I have survived, not once or twice, but three times.

My depression and suicidal thoughts are not going anywhere, that much I understand. I’m sure that I will be on medication and in therapy for a long time. And that’s okay.

Though, I’m not sure what my purpose is in life. But having an opportunity to tell my story and share my experience should count for something right?

It will get better.

Maybe not today, but someday.

NOTE: If you, a family member, friend, or colleague is experiencing  thoughts of suicide or distress, call 911 now.
Other resources:
Canada- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention  http://Suicide Prevention
USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom   http://NHS

Worth Living Ambassador Niko Colletti

Hey there! I’m Niko, 20 years old, of Southern Ontario.  I’m on a journey to find myself and discover what truly makes me happy, while continuing to learn how to function in this complicated world around me.  I was diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism as well as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at a very young age, and it’s been a long haul living with a brain wired so differently.  I intend to continue bettering myself while sharing my experiences with those who are feeling overwhelmed in their struggles, showing that with enough determination and patience, you will persevere no matter what demons share your company.

I’ve made a lot of progress in these last few months, both with getting my negative thoughts into a more manageable order, and developing strategies to help me maintain order in my life with my unmedicated ADHD brain. While I still have a long way to go in my recovery, this is the first time where I can truly see progress has been made, and I’m finally beginning to genuinely enjoy life for the first time in years.  Today I’m going to touch a little bit on my physical health, and how making some changes to my lifestyle have really played a role in a clearer head so far.

Between my visits to my therapist and research I did on my own time, I learned the importance of physical health in our ability to think and reason and how much it contributes to living a longer and fuller life.  Mental and physical health are equally important; you can’t have one without the other, and healthy living is not simply about thinking positively or eating salad every day.  There’s no secret formula, and no one-size-fits-all approach for everyone.  It takes work, persistence and determination to make a difference in your life.  Commitment is the best way to sum it up.  You need to be committed to bettering yourself and resilient to failure, as you will be weak at times and have to try again, but thats okay!  Just don’t be too hard on yourself. Changing your character takes time, and you will have to be careful choosing your actions. Remember, your actions become habits, and your habits become character. Before you know it, making healthy choices for your body and mind will simply be who you are!

About a month and a half ago, I started going to the gym.  Because of my lack of self-confidence, I wanted to try and change that by improving my physical appearance.  In addition, my therapist had made it apparent that while regular physical activity improves brain function overall, it makes a huge difference in those with ADHD, curbing impulsivity by a long shot, allowing clearer thought-processing and better emotion-regulation. This was enough for me to finally look into a membership.  By mid-December, I had gotten used to the machines and was religiously working out about five times a week.  The transformation already has astounded me!  Not only am I starting to see muscle tone, but as a result I am always hungry!  I started challenging myself to eat at least three sources of lean protein everyday to help put on size, and to help my ADHD brain function better day-to-day. I avoid sugar as much as I can.

As a result of eating healthier, I have more energy, and I find myself to be sharper than before.  I’m still clumsy but I find myself already generating solutions as I’m making mistakes. By the time I’ve messed up, I’m already correcting whatever it is that I messed up on.  I’ve started taking magnesium supplements to help regulate my emotions, and fish oil supplements to help further improve brain function.  I started doing all of this as a result of simply going to the gym for half an hour nearly everyday, and while I knew all of this was going to help me, simply starting to work out helped motivate me to further improve my health. Taking the first step is always the hardest.

While I enjoy going to the gym, I wanted to find other ways to be active that were fun and allowed me to learn a new skill and find a hobby I could enjoy with my friends, and make new ones!  About a week ago, I tried snowboarding for the first time.  I fell in love with it.  If  it was up to me, I’d be on the hill every weekend!  I love the thrill and for someone who has such a difficult time getting out in the winter, I am ecstatic that I found something to do that won’t keep me cooped up at home.  Even if I can’t get to the hill and I’m feeling down, going to the gym for a good workout always seems to get me into a better frame of mind.

I guess what I’m getting at is that healthier eating and regular exercise have helped improve my self confidence, physical health and brain functioning in the small amount of time its been, which is my motivation to continue!  As sticking to something is difficult for an ADHDer, I’ve been keeping track of my healthy habits, which I’ll talk about more in-depth in a future post.  Nothing good comes easy, and there are days where I feel like I’m sinking again.  If you’re reading this, you know exactly about what I’m talking. Just know that if you’re persistent and patient, you can make a habit out of everything and you will overcome what you’re dealing with. I promise, we’re all in this together!  That’s all for this month.

Don’t be afraid to give the gym, or that sport you’ve always been interested in a go.  Remember, starting is the hardest part.  It only gets easier and more enjoyable from here!  🙂

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”  -Jim Rohn

Worth Living Ambassador Marcus Brown

My name is Marcus Brown, I live  in London, and I’m currently a 12x marathon runner.

I was never really into long distance running at school, however following a bet from a friend I signed up for a 10K in 2006. I don’t like backing down from a challenge even though I was unfit from university. The training was very hard and many times I had serious reservations about whether I would complete it. But the sense of satisfaction I had from completing the 10k gave me so much confidence, and I promptly signed up for another 10k.

Over the next few years, I built up my confidence from running 10k and half marathon distances to signing up for my first full marathon which was in Abingdon in 2008. After the long training period, then to complete the marathon, it gave me so much confidence of what I was capable. Although my time wasn’t fast, I learnt not to place limitations on what I believed I was, whether you’re slow or fast, you’re a runner in my eyes.

I like to be challenged which is why I enjoy running. It’s a great reminder to not always stay in your comfort zone.

In 2016, I completed my goal which was to run four marathons in one year, to highlight and raise awareness that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health challenge each year and encourage others of the importance exercise has in working towards the balance between a healthy mind and healthy body.

My long term goal is an extension of the 2016 goal, to complete the six world marathon majors. I’ve completed the London, Berlin and New York marathons (3 out of 6). And my other goal is to work towards a three hour marathon.
In the morning, it’s easy to take care of things we can physically see.

But in terms of mental health it’s so important to take care of the mind also. If we look at our basic emotions of fear or love, these can subconsciously dictate our conscious moods for the day. Hence why it’s important to get the mind focused to best serve you for that day.

Try this for 10 minutes

1.If you are facing a challenge, ask what one thing you can do to make a positive difference today.

2.Think of approximately three things  for which you are grateful.

3.Think of approximately three goals/values your committed to achieving.

Some people pray, some people mediate. These are different ways of getting your mind focused in a way that will better serve you. What’s suggested above can be modified to suit based on what works for you.

You could even do it with or without exercise.

Worth Living Ambassador Dr. Divya Madhusudhan (BPT, MPH)

Divya is the founder of Hear Your Mind. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Worcester,England. She has been a recipient of the prestigious Commonwealth Award, England, and an ‘entrepreneurship for good’ fellowship, Berlin,Germany.  Having worked in an array of health sectors before and being a survivor of depression herself, she draws upon her wide professional and personal experience.

According to the World Health Organization (2015), 36% of the Indian population suffers from depression. For a country of 1.3 billion people, 36% is a huge number. Despite this high prevalence, mental health is something that the society conveniently ignores. The taboo around mental illnesses takes over everything.  People are hesitant to talk about it, people are hesitant to be seen anywhere around a psychiatric ward or more importantly even consider treatment options. Focus is more on drug therapy rather than counseling as patients find it easier to pop a tablet rather than attend counseling session and be seen around mental health service centers.  This results in partially treated mental illnesses. The pressure on patients is enormous. They often feel helpless and isolated ultimately leading to suicide.

In today’s volatile and fast paced life, stress levels are at an all-time at an all-time high. A student struggles to cope with anxiety during an exam. A woman on her pregnancy panics thinking about her future. A man suffers inferiority complex trying to impress his boss at work. A teenager is trying hard to combat peer pressure. There is stress all the time. How many will seek professional support  for such issues? “It’s okay, it will get better” “what’s the need?” “It’s no big deal” is the answer to everything. Not one of them would dare to walk into a mental health clinic and book a counseling session.

So how do we get over this taboo? How do we move beyond stigma? I would say education.  Inculcating importance of mental health at schools, workplace and family gatherings could have an enormous impact on acceptance of mental illnesses in the society.  Basic education such as recognizing the signs of mental illness, first aid options and peer support could be one of first step’s India can take to come out of its secret affair. The more people talk about it, the easier it is for the patient to express what exactly he is going through and seek appropriate support.

To reduce the stigma, we need to have the strength to talk about mental health. We know it matters – we just need to acknowledge its existence in our lives!

Please follow Divya at http://Hear Your Mind

Worth Living Ambassador Kay Ska

Kay Ska, 21, UK
There is so much of stigma attached to mental health that I tried to ignore my own mental health problems for as long as I possibly could. And let’s just say that wasn’t the best thing I did. Now, I’m extremely passionate about spreading the mental health awareness and getting rid of the stigma attached to it! As well as helping people in any way I possibly can, by sharing my story and things that have/are still helping me on my recovery journey.

This past year was full of growth and learning for me. As the year was unfolding it became clearer to me why things were happening. Everything that I thought was ‘bad’, wasn’t because I was able to learn so much from it.

I became more open to life, to new things and new people. Eventually, 2016 started to feel like my life was making some sort of sense. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a super duper challenging year but I can see exactly why I needed to face so many challenges. Sometimes you have to hit your proper rock bottom to fully open your heart and mind. And that’s exactly what happened. I never thought I’d be able to say that, but I am grateful for all the shit that has happened (is still happening) Because of that, I am where I am today, and I am in such a better place right now than I was at the beginning of last year.

Here are some of the thing I have learned in 2016:

• I don’t have to keep toxic people in my life! Took me a bloody long time to realise that, but now I honestly can see when I’m able to let go of the toxic people in my life, I make space for the better people to enter my life.

• Life might keep giving me more challenges because there are still a lot of things I need to learn! Not because life is against me.

• In everything that’s ‘bad’, there’s always good in there too! Which I might’ve not been able to see straight away, but when I look back, I can see why things have happened the way they have. And something good has always come out of those tough times.

• Everything really does happen for a reason.

• I am worthy of having a kind, supportive and loving people around me! Just because I haven’t grown up surrounded by those kinds of people, doesn’t mean I’m less worthy of that.

• Relapse is a normal part of recovery.

• The moment when I wanted to quit, was the moment when I needed to keep pushing.I remember sharing this quote, around my birthday time in June. I was in a pretty bad place. There were so many times in the first half of 2016 that I honestly didn’t know how I could go on. Suicidal thoughts started to become the ‘normality’ again. Any expectations of getting any work or anything done was gone. I set my bar a lot lower for those times. I struggled, but I kept pushing. Something within me has got me through so many dark times before and once again it did this year, many times. I just kept pushing, a day at the time.

• Getting rid of the weighing scale was one of the best things I could’ve done! Due to completely changing my lifestyle and my diet I have lost a lot of weight, which sort of happened pretty fast and unexpectantly! I used to struggle with eating disorder and body dysmorphia and losing so much weight was actually a big trigger, just when I thought I had it all ‘under control’. I was so scared those past monsters would take over my life once again. I think because I was pretty aware of what was going on, I noticed when I started to struggle and I made a conscious effort to change that before it took over me. Numbers on the scale really do not define me! I am so much healthier now and I have no idea what I weight anymore, but I know that my body actually feels a lot healthier than it ever did before!

• My story matters. Just as I tell this to everyone who has/is sharing their story on this blog, I have realised that actually my story too matters!

• There are people out there who have helped me so much in the past year, but I also realised that I’m the only person who can help myself the most.

• Changing my lifestyle has extremely benefited my physical and mental health. Becoming a vegan, almost a year ago now, has really transformed my life, my physical health! I actually have so much more energy now than I ever used to! I Being sober for over a year, I don’t even care if that makes me sound ‘boring’. I can have fun without drinking. Doing yoga and meditating, sticking to yoga, from about August time, doing it every single day along with meditating. There have been so many benefits from all of these changes. First time in my life I feel like my nervous system isn’t alllll over the place. I actually don’t know what has had the best effect on me but they have all linked nicely with each other and been extremely beneficial to my wellbeing.

• Inner peace is within me. I realised that I can only find peace within me. Things might still be very much hectic in my life, but my reaction (or non-reaction;)) to them is different.

• I can ALWAYS cope with the present moment. Being so sensitive is a gift. Thanks to which I am able to relate and help so many people!

• Looking after myself is the most important thing I can do! Being sensitive can really suck too. I can feel things so deeply and it can be exhausting! This is why I’m still learning to look after myself a lot better. Making self-care my number 1 priority. When I’m able to do that, I have so much more energy, I’m actually able to do a lot more, and help a lot more people!

• This too shall pass. This is something I’ve repeated over, and over this year. Feeling, thoughts, emotions are temporary, they will pass.

• The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, was one of the most important books I have EVER read.

• For the first time in my life, I have some sort of idea what I actually want to do with it. Like it actually feel like I have actually a purpose here! I feel so much clearer about my life and the path that I’m on.

• I am SO much stronger than I give myself the credit for.

• I am actually more comfortable in my own body!!! WHAT a journey it’s been?! This has been the first year that I’ve actually been more okay with sharing photos of myself online. Some which probably weren’t the most ‘appropriate’, but those were the most important ones to me. Capturing those moments when I actually felt okay about my body, my appearance. The summer I challenged myself so much more, I tried to embrace my body rather than hide in my tights and long t-shirts. I was even able to leave the house in shorts, and not even wearing tights!!! And have actually started to wear vests, and short sleeves again. This might sound pathetic but actually, those were very big things for me. I feel the most comfortable in my own body than I ever have felt before.

• I am and will be okay, no matter what.

• Little steps matter. Recovery is a journey, it’s all a progress. Making little steps forwards made looking back on 2016 enjoyable as if I’ve achieved quite a bit! No matter how small the step is, as long as it’s towards recovery it’s always positive.

• My blog has/is helping thousands of people and that’s the BEST feeling! I might say this a lot, but all I want to do is help others. If I can use at least some of my shitty life experiences to help others, then they were worthwhile.

• I have the most supportive, kind and loving community!!!

I am so grateful for all of you who have been with me this year, or even if it was just in the past months. Your presence has made a difference in my life. I have so much love for youfor you all. Thank you for being my rocks throughout the last year.  THANK YOU all so much for sticking with me, supporting me and each other! 2016 has been a game changer! Let’s try to make 2017 even better :)!

Soooo much love,


Please follow my personal blog http://This is What a Person with Mental Illness Looks Like

Worth Living Ambassador Rachel Burridge

Hello, I’m Rachel from the United Kingdom and I am 22 years of age. I have been on a journey with mental health for seven years now and facing the stigmas and hush hush around it. I am to recover from my illness while helping others to recover as we all go on the journey together.
Mental illness is one massive battle in itself.

Before being diagnosed with mental illness, I had to battle with my mind, emotions, and actions daily for years trying to figure out why I was acting and feeling the way I did, why I couldn’t join in with certain activities or get on with simple tasks that other people I knew and grew up with could do naturally. I had to battle with not being part of a team, a group, a relationship, a friendship. Being able to grow up independently and grow as a person, growing into the person I was meant to be. Then after I knew there was something different about my thoughts and the way my mind worked I had to battle with mental health services to find the right doctor to refer me to mental health services. I had to battle with fears of talking to someone about my thoughts. I had to battle with opening up when I was such a closed book for so long and thought it was just ‘a phase’ I was going through. Then once I was diagnosed with mental illness I went onto battle with repeated therapy sessions opening up more doors that I had closed and shut away for so long. I battled with hidden dark memories I had once tried so hard to forget.

Recently I have had to battle with testing medication, trying to find the right one to keep my mind straight. Battle with suicidal thoughts, dark thoughts. Battle with the fact I can’t work right now, I can’t go out and do the normal things a 22 year old girl should be able to do…live life fully.

This up to now isn’t even the end of my battle. I continue to battle to find the right diagnosis for my condition, the right treatment, the right recovery, the right coping. This is one hard trip to hell and back but it compares nothing to the battles I have had to face so far especially the battle to make people believe that I am actually very ill.

The fact that mental illness is ‘the invisible illness’ one that is not seen so easy to the eye, not like a broken bone, a bad cut, an open wound, a nasty rash. It’s only seen by the person who is ill.

Mental Illness is the owner of a great and powerful stigma that needs to be banished! I’ve lost so many ‘friends’ and ‘relationships’ from the fact that I have not been believed that I am actually ill, that I am actually suffering. Sometimes this non- belief of the illness makes me question it myself ‘am I really poorly?’ ‘am I just lazy?’ ‘do I just moan a lot?’ ‘am I just over anxious?’ ‘is this just my personality to accept?’  The answer is no!

The fact that I have a diagnosis, that I have proof that I am in fact ill, that I need medication and therapy are enough proof that this is ‘real’. If the stigma around mental illness still makes me question it after all this time battling it, no wonder people are too afraid to speak out or get help. If the stigma was removed may be people wouldn’t be as scared or battle it alone anymore and be able to survive? Perhaps there would even be less suicides? It needs to end, the stigma needs to be lifted!

Worth Living Founder – Keith Anderson

Music has played a few roles in my depression and recovery.  I have been at amazing concerts but in the midst of the darkness.  I have been alone in a crowd of 80,000 people but not felt lonely. Music brings forth a community.

As I started to think about what to write this week, I kept remembering the BringChange2Mind Music Nights I hosted online for a couple of years. I posted music clips on facebook hoping the music would help people who may have been alone and struggling with mental health challenges. Those Saturday nights fostered friendships, with lots of memories and stories shared. Music was the catalyst.

I thought this week that I would share some of My Mental Health Playlist. It`s not a Best of List or a Top 10 List.  It is simply a list of songs that had an impact and continue to be part of my memories.  Most clips are from live performances which I prefer. Videos produced and songs produced in studio may be more pristine with perfect song quality. To hear and see an artist in concert is real. It may contain mistakes, but it’s authentic.

Whenever I consider songs that were part of my journey, I always start with Joe Cocker’s version of  With A Little Help from My Friends. It was the impetus for BC2M Music Night. Though a Beatles song originally, it became a Joe Cocker classic after he performed it at Woodstock.  His debut album in 1969 took it as its title. The lyrics are quite apt for those of us who know the darkness and the longing for help from our friends.

Another song somewhat akin is Carole King’s You’ve Got A friend in Me. We associate this song with James Taylor.  He would get the chance to make it his own. This clip begins with the story behind the song, such kindness exhibited between artists. It’s as heartwarming as the song.



Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t  Stop Thinking About Tomorrow is a truly feel good song. It was released on the album Rumours in 1977. I was 16 and played the 8 Track constantly. Who remembers 8 Tracks?  It is still a song that provides good memories.



I was late discovering Nina Simone, but she captures the difficulties of life so well in her songs. The emotions, angst, and joys of life simmer within her music.  Try to catch the documentary on her life, I saw it on Netflix last year.

This song, Ain’t Got No, I Got Life, begins with a tone of sadness.  However, if you listen carefully, you can sense that there is some goodness waiting to be heard.  Then you discover she is proud of herself. Wow! It gives me such hope!



This next song is deeply personal with warm memories but still with a bit of pain.

My first date with Dionne was a weekend trip to Las Vegas. We got tickets to see Cher. I wasn’t a huge fan, but we  thought her show would be entertaining and it certainly was that. Believe was her big hit at the time. My listing this song is to mention a memory of a relationship that started wonderfully but was torn apart by our mutually having depression. Tough to keep it going in the midst of such mental turmoil.



In Bruce Springsteen’s recently published memoirs, Born to Run, he discloses his time with depression.  Such a musical icon, but here he is with challenges to which I relate. Catching him in concert a few years ago was special. The most intense start of any concert I have seen. He didn’t stop nor catch a breath for the first hour. Intense, gripping, I was all in!



I have a wonderful story about a  Van Morrison concert. It’s too long and I can’t write well enough to properly catch the context and humour of it here.  Sorry! It was truly a Worth Living Memory.

In the meantime, let’s get on the same Wavelength.



My first major concert was seeing U2 on the Joshua Tree Tour at Wembley Stadium in 1987. A breathtaking concert.  Though Bono has undertaken some life changing initiatives for millions of people, it’s the music that we will focus on here.  U2 has had some of the most inspiring music in the last 30 years.  A Beautiful Day makes me feel hopeful that every day can be special.



I had heard of Moby, but never knew his music. I have no idea how I found this song but I like this clip. It’s  a fun clip but with a positive message.



It took years in recovery before I listened to jazz. Not yet sure why.

I had the good fortune to see Miles Davis perform twice while I lived in London.  Two friends took me to the first concert. They were completely bored. I was deep into enjoyment. When he returned  six months later, I knew to buy one ticket!  The concert night, I went to dinner then walked to Royal Festival Hall. I was in the fourth row. Just Miles and me!  One of the best evenings of my life.

Miles’ Kind of Blue album is without doubt the most influential and popular jazz album of all time.  This is a clip of So What from Kind of Blue.  Sit back and let the music flow through your mind and heart.




Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World –  no words are needed – a song to let you dream.


My Mental Health Playlist.

What music helps you through challenging times? What music do you play when you feel wonderful?

Note : A version of this post appeared on The Good Men Project.

Worth Living Ambassador Hannah Morgan

Hannah-Grace is a 20 year old Applied Psychology student at Acadia University. Having grown up seeing first-hand how rocky the road of dealing with mental illness can be, as well as the unfortunate stigma that comes along with it, she is eager to help make a change. Hannah-Grace aims to inspire others to choose happiness, embrace the differences of others, and laugh often.

Hi everyone! This is my first blog post and I am more than excited to get started. Today, I will be sharing with you some helpful tips you can incorporate into your everyday life to be a better support for someone who is living with a mental illness. As a disclaimer, these are not listed in the order of their importance, but rather just a natural flow of ideas. Let’s get started!

1.Educate Yourself
A very easy and helpful way to show your loved one that you support them is to learn about the specific illness that they are living with. By typing in a few keywords, you can be given an abundance of relevant information regarding any mental illness, such as symptoms, treatments, and what being diagnosed with the illness means for your loved one.

To be clear, this is something that should be practiced more not only by those supporting someone with a mental illness, but by everyone (myself included). It is so easy to get caught up in our own little worlds and forget to ask a simple yet so important question- “how are you?”. Not only can the answer to this question sometimes literally be the difference between life and death, but even just venting can relieve a lot of stress. We’re always told not to keep things bottled up, but in my opinion we aren’t told enough to stop talking and listen.

My challenge to you today is to reach out and ask someone how they are doing.

3.Get Involved
With the increasing popularity of movements such as Bell Let’s Talk and Worth Living, it is now more apparent than ever that there is strength in numbers. By getting involved and starting the conversation, you can show your loved one that their wellbeing matters to you. It is so easy to be afraid of the scrutiny of others, but if we don’t talk about it, we’re only adding to the problem. Help end the stigma. Share. Contribute. Listen. Be Involved.

4.Take Care of Yourself.
This one is something that I’ve recently learned is very important. I found myself exhausted. I was drained emotionally, physically, and mentally. Juggling my role as a Resident Assistant in which I am a support for the residents of my building on campus, to dealing with the demands of my third year classes, all the while trying to deal with family and personal struggles, I was burnt out. I reflected on a training session that Acadia’s Residence Life had put on for us and remembered the analogy presented that I still utilize today. Think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes on over the speaker, and reminds you that in the event of an emergency to put your oxygen mask on before attending to the needs of anyone else. This analogy holds true outside of an aircraft as well. You can’t help others if you do not help yourself first. If you try to be a support for someone while you yourself are not being taken care of, you are virtually no help to the other person. Practice self-care. Do something that makes you happy. Get enough sleep. Binge watch that show. Grab a coffee with friends. Get yourself in a good place and it will benefit more than just you.

5.Let Them Maintain Control.
When a person is feeling like they are constantly relying on someone else, it is easy to become dependent and lose that sense of autonomy that is so important. While you may want to show your loved one you care by handling every aspect of their life, remember that they need to feel a sense of purpose as well.

6.Hold Them Accountable.
This may come across as harsh, but hear me out. Going off of the previous point, we must remember to let our loved ones maintain control of their own lives. What we cannot do, however, is allow for them to engage in unhealthy behaviour. Set limits. Don’t let them get away with doing something that is not acceptable for fear of “setting them off” or losing their trust. By not setting these appropriate limits or holding them accountable for their actions, you are truly only hurting them in the long run. In order for them to maintain that vitally important sense of autonomy, they must be held accountable. Treat them with dignity and respect but do not be a supporter of unhealthy behaviour.

7.Seek Out Resources.
One of the hardest things to do at times can be to ask for help. If you want to ensure that your loved one receives the best care possible, it is important to know what resources are available in your area. For instance, knowing the phone number for a support hotline can be helpful for both you and your loved one. Similarly, knowing the contact information for your loved one’s counsellor/therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist can be beneficial. In extreme cases, it is important to be prepared for the worst. Potentially knowing what medications (if any) your loved one has been prescribed can be helpful, as well as knowing simple things such as the address of your location.

These are not the only ways to be supportive of a loved one living with a mental illness, but they are some tips I try to incorporate into my daily life that I thought would be helpful for all of you.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and I wish you all health and happiness moving forward in the new year.

Worth Living Ambassador Maizie Montgomery

“Hi! My name is Maizie and I am 20 years old and from Liverpool in England. I am currently studying psychology at university and my goal in life is to help people and raise awareness of mental health issues. I have suffered with depression, self- harm and eating disorders for the past 10 years. Now it’s time to get my life back!”

Caution : This post contains comments about thoughts of suicide

On my blog I have previously written about a time when I was younger when I wanted to end my life. So now I want to talk about the most recent time.

I mean suicidal thoughts are still a part of my life and the little shits do just invite themselves in and have a little party in my mind. But the same as all the other thoughts and demons I face, I have learnt to control them (to an extent).
5th September 2014.

This was my suicide date. I had everything planned perfectly. I had just left sixth form, so my death wouldn’t majorly impact anyone as I didn’t see most people every day anyway. I was meant to go to university but decided not to (the less people I knew the better). I did actually have a job interview a few days earlier but knew I’d messed it up and to be honest, I only went to get people off my back. I still had my best friends and my family which did make me feel so bad as I knew I would hurt them, but I couldn’t see another option. My best friend Katie went to Poland a few days before this date and I remember giving her the biggest hug ever and crying when I left her house. As for my other friends, there was one last big night out into town. It was such a good night and I got a photograph with pretty much everyone I knew. In my head I was doing it so they would have fun happy things to look back at and remember me with. After way too much alcohol and lots of singing and dancing, two other friends and I headed home in a taxi.

So the plan for the next day was to get the bus to my old school, pop in, and see and thank a few teachers who were really there for me, then walk to the nearby park where I had a lethal mixture of medication at the ready. I figured this was the nicest way of doing it as none of my family would have to be the ones who would find me.

So back to the night before, as we dropped one of my friends off first, I give her a hug goodbye and she slipped me a letter and time me she loved me. What the hell was going on?

I got home and read the letter. It is something that I have kept to this day and still cry every time I read it. She had found my secret Twitter account and therefore knew about my suicide plan. I couldn’t believe she had found it. I rang her and we both had a little cry and I said I was so sorry that she was now in this position. The next morning I tried to just not think about the letter and stick to my plan. I said goodbye to my dad and little sister who were in the house and I went and got on the bus. I cried from the second I sat down on the bus.

I wanted to stick to my plan but that letter was just going round and round and round in my head. A minute or so later, my phone rang and when I answered it, it was Tesco telling me I had gotten the job I interviewed for a few days earlier. I jumped up and got off the bus in hysterics. Maybe I could give this whole ‘life’ thing one more shot. Between the guilt of leaving my friend in the position she was in, and the prospect of maybe trying to start over; the plan was scrapped.
This was it. This was my last chance to sort myself out. I didn’t have the energy to try any more. This was the final shot. Maybe, just maybe there was some hope left for me.

Two years later, that was the best decision I have ever made. It is fair to say that that letter saved my life. So to one of my best friends still to this day, Thank You.

Please follow my Personal Blog http://Insanity is the New Sanity

NOTE: If you, a family member, friend, or colleague is experiencing  thoughts of suicide or distress, call 911 now.

Other resources :

Canada- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention http://Suicide Prevention
USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom   http://NHS