Worth Living Ambassador  & WL Official DJ – Ashley Quackenbush

I am 23, from Ontario. I have been DJ’ing in Toronto and throughout Ontario since I was 18.  I joined Worth Living because I wanted to be able to share my mental health journey. I wanted to share to the public my struggle with mental illness and how I have found my life that is now worth living. I wanted to be able to raise awareness about mental health and end the stigma that is around mental illness. Knowing that I might help even just one person that may be struggling is a wonderful feeling. 

I love being a Worth Living Ambassador because as the Official DJ for Worth Living, I get to bring people together with music and raise awareness at the same time. Music is something everyone can relate to. I’m a true believer that music can help people though the dark times and can be a major asset in the recovery process. Sometimes music can speak words and show emotions that we can’t always express on our own.

Here’s a little blog post I put together last night. It’s similar to one I wrote previously but I focus on a new helpline for musicians. Even though I’m big believer that music is a form of therapy. I also believe that musicians shouldn’t have to sacrifice their mental health and wellbeing making art.

Caution: Ashley mentions some musicians who have died by suicide.

Mental Health in the Music Industry: Support for Musicians

A few weeks ago I  stumbled upon a campaign called #MusicMindsMatter in the UK while surfing the web. Intrigued, I clicked on the link to read more. I felt hopeful as I read more about the organization. The organization is helping musicians and people who work in the music industry that are struggling with their mental health.

This year alone in the music industry we lost names like Chester Bennington the front man of Linkin Park, Sound Garden’s lead Chris Cornell and a member of Shinee, Jonghyun. Mental illness is an invisible illness. You can’t tell who is struggling by just looking at them. Sometimes it is difficult for one who is struggling to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes we don’t know one is struggling until it’s too late and they have taken their own life. Musicians face unique challenges every day that the general public does not. Some of these challenges being but not limited to include; unstable work environment, delayed financial rewards, worries about money, social media, constant feedback and so much more. This all can take a toll on a musician’s mental health.

Recently, Help Musicians UK launched a phone support line for not only musicians but their management team, tour crews and record labels called Music Minds Matter. The helpline offers support, resources, and advice for people working in the music industry that might be struggling with mental illness. We can say it’s a start for the music industry but there is a long way to go. There is a high demand for this kind of service in all levels of the music industry. I’m hoping that this organization will get the recognition that it deserves and spreads to a worldwide movement.

#MusicMindsMatter is a branch from the Help Musicians UK organization. Musicians in the UK can reach the phone helpline 24/7 free of charge. In March of 2014, Help Musicians UK conducted a survey about health and wellbeing in the music industry. They received responses from 552 musicians from various genres of music and stages in their careers with many bringing light to issues like anxiety, the number of hours they work alone, injury and hearing loss. Help Musicians UK also performed a similar survey in 2016. A total of 2,211 people who work in the music industry participated in the survey. The findings from the survey found that musicians are up to three times more likely than the general public to suffer from mental illness. After the studies, it is clear that musicians want affordable and easy access to mental health services. Musicians also want to be able to talk to professionals who understand their unique challenges that they face day-to-day.

To find out more about Music Minds Matter visit http://www.musicmindmatters.org.uk

To find out more about Help Musicians UK visit www.helpmusicians.org.uk

Worth Living Top 10 Weekly Countdown – Holiday pt.1

With the holiday season in full swing why not play some Christmas music. Here are some all time favourites. Stay warm, cozy up by a fire and listen to some great songs. Enjoy – Scratchley Q
10. One Republic – Christmas Without You

9. Victoria Duffield – Last Christmas

8. R.Kelly – Love Letter (Christmas Remix)

7. Fun – Sleigh Ride

6. Toni Braxton ft. Babyface – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

5. Rihanna – It Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas

4. Hot Chelle Rae – Jingle Bell Rock

3. Sean Kingston – The Little Drummer Boy

2. Neon Trees – Wish List

1. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas

Worth Living Ambassador Linda Dias Menezes

My name is Linda Dias Menezes and I have epilepsy, I have a loving supportive husband and a little boy that is 3 years old.
I am also a mentor, an ambassador, a support group facilitator, a Psychology Honors Student at the University of South Africa and an advocate for mental health and epilepsy. I have my own NPO aimed and spreading epilepsy awareness in South Africa and plan to open a second NPO with fellow psychology students called Mental Health Profession Advocates for Change.

Here in sunny South Africa the mental health care is all but sunny. Mental health and the stigma attached to mental health are not seen for what they are. Instead, some communities have a belief that if you have epilepsy or a mental health problem you are possessed or deranged.  I educate my audience in every presentation I host about what epilepsy is. People in general are not educated on the myths and stigmas related to mental health as soon as they hear the word mental, they think of THE “Arkham Asylum”. I discuss the mental health issues that go along with Epilepsy for example.

I recently joined with Worth Living to launch Worth Living South Africa.

When the Holidays Turn Out Not So Happy.

Happy Holidays!

December is here and Christmas carols play in the malls and on the radio. Christmas trees are up and tinsel decorates shop windows and counters.

At the moment, most people are celebrating the festivities and looking forward to the excitement of wrapping and unwrapping gifts. For others though, this time of the year brings anxiety of shopping for the ideal gift for loved ones and friends, when their bank balances aren’t looking that great. The anxiety of spending money on credit that you don’t have, just so you don’t turn up empty handed. The anxiety of going to the mall and looking for a parking spot and eventually when you find a parking spot, someone cuts you off and takes the parking you been waiting for. Not to mention waiting in queues with groups of people who have no sense of personal space!

I do understand this time of the year can get a bit much. Buying gifts online helps and the anxiety of making that trip to the mall or shopping center is avoided. My favorite sites are takealot.com and Amazon.com and some items are a lot cheaper than the stores! Making a Christmas budget also helps, try not to buy on credit. At the end of the day when giving or receiving a gift, all that really matters is – it’s the thought that counts. It might sound like an overused cliché although those nearest and dearest to you will appreciate any gift you get them.

The loss of a loved one also becomes a  prominent subject this time of the year. When a person of significance no longer celebrates Christmas or the holidays with you, it can take a toll. Even more so when you planned to spend it with them and they are no longer here. It really hits home when it’s the first Christmas without him or her. Suddenly Christmas is not so magical, and the good cheer that everyone feels around you is all but cheerful. You don’t feel the magic of Christmas and you just want to be on your own away from everyone and everything. Worst of all, people around you don’t understand why you cannot be happy or get into the Christmas spirit.

Depression is real, just because its Christmas doesn’t mean depression goes away. Depression doesn’t disappear when the Christmas decorations come out and people start making their holiday plans.

Please read my previous blog: (http://worthliving.co/2017/11/19/exam-pressures-suicide-and-depression) to recognize signs and symptoms of depression.

P.S. Please drive safe, don’t drink and drive. Get a designated driver or UBER. I look forward to hearing from you:

Kindest Regards, Linda Dias Menezes Twitter: @diaslr Instagram: epilepsyawarenesssa Facebook: EpilepsyAwarenessSA Email: epilepsyawarenesssa@gmail.com   Website: www.easa.org.za

Worth Living Ambassador Katherine Anne McCain

My name is Katherine Anne McCain, and I was born with one arm. I am a freelance model and a
student getting my degree in Psychology. When I was 16 I started my ongoing battle with
Anorexia and my constant battle with poor self-destructive tendencies. When I was about 19
(I’m 21 now),  I made the decision to go into therapy and to begin my journey of finding health
and to loving myself again. Throughout my recovery I’ve learned a lot more about myself and
my passions, and have found a deep love for helping others and spending time with my friends,
family, and sorority sisters.

Unbothered by Bullying

Lately, I’ve had trouble finding inspiration to write. I believe that it’s partially because in my last
few weeks of school, I have been really happy for no reason in particular and I have been busy
completing my degree. Right now what inspired me to write is a story I think it’s important to
share. My story starts with my Saturday night.

For most of November I have been sick and haven’t left the house much besides going to class, so when I found out that my sorority got invited to a very exclusive party for a social elite 18-year-old I knew I wanted to go. Still  somewhat sick, I took allergy meds and Advil and got ready to go.

The party was the most unreal thing I’ve ever been to. When my sisters and I were waiting to check in with our names that were  on the list, we entered a parking lot with multiple Ferrari’s, Mercedes, really any new beautiful  car you could dream of. The party had a red carpet, photo ops, dancers, endless hors d’oeuvres, and three music performances. It was like being in Vegas but better. It was easily the party of the century, which was no surprise because the family got a lot of attention the previous year for  having thrown the daughter a $6 Million quincenera. I had the best night of my life honestly. I got to see some of my favorite artists, enjoy the open bar, and see some of my favorite celebrities who made an appearance.

During the second artist’s performance, Diplo, I saw a guy that I thought was really cute stand by me in the front row. I think I laughed at him because I had one  of those really cool light up foam glow stick things and his wasn’t working and he took that as  me flirting with him- which I probably was- but either way he was really cool and we started  dancing together. After Diplo’s set we kept talking and we hit it off really well, it was very unexpected. I think it’s because neither of us were from the state we are currently in so we  bonded over that and that both of us were the very few that aren’t the celebrity, social elite type. We were having so much fun that he asked me to leave with him, so I did.

We actually hung out outside the venue for a while just talking and laughing. It was funny, when he wanted to find his car he wanted to Uber to it and he went around asking Uber’s if they could drive us to it as if it  was a taxi. He ended up paying an Uber driver after all, so sorry to whomever didn’t get their Uber they ordered that night. He is a really great guy and we had a great night. This story is not going
in the direction of him doing anything wrong, I actually really like him.

The thing that was wrong about the night was his co-workers. He came to the party with several
of them. I didn’t see them or say hi to them or anything because all night it was just me and him
dancing and talking. I wouldn’t have known he came with them if he hadn’t told me. Late that
night he, out of the blue, asked me if I was born with my arm like this to which I answered yes.
He then proceeded to tell me that at 3am, when he asked me to leave with him, ALL of his
co-workers told him not to leave with me because “she has one arm.” He seemed genuinely mad
that his coworkers would say that so it didn’t bother me. I had an amazing night, probably the
best one I’ve ever had. At this point, as you all know, I’ve been called names and have been
bullied all my life and it felt good that I didn’t let him telling me that get to me. I love who I am
and if they don’t, that sucks. I met a nice guy and partied with famous people. I think I looked

Now, reflecting on that night, the comment still doesn’t hurt me which I’m proud to share
but it poses a lot of questions for me. Why did he tell me this information when we had already
left? I like to think it’s because he was genuinely shocked and angry which is what he expressed
but I can’t know what his intent was with telling me this. I also want to know what was said. I
noticed he texted in the car, is that when they told him not to leave with me? I was with him and
only him and my sisters all night, who was watching me and why do they think that’s okay?

It surprises me every time that it’s 2017, almost 2018, and people still care about my arm. Like yes,
we’re at a social elites party, he could bring any other girl home that he wanted to but I am not of
less value because I’m missing a limb. He and I had briefly talked about how important it is to
talk about differences, etc. to avoid situations like this.

I share all of this to bring hope to anyone out there getting bullied, because I am proof that one
day the comments don’t matter. They don’t affect you. Had the guy I was with told my nineteen
year old self this, I’m sure she would’ve been hurt and would’ve deeply internalized that pain,
and turned to excessive drug and alcohol use.

I don’t know what changed with me, I suppose it’s meeting enough nice people and finding my support system but I don’t really let others comments affect me. When I go out I know they are inevitable, but they don’t change who I am or what I’m worth.

Worth Living Ambassador Norah Quirk

Hi, my name is Norah Quirk. I’m 24 in my second year at St. Francis Xavier University, I am majoring in Development Studies and Anthropology . I  for a long time struggled with anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and an eating disorder that I am finally coming to terms with and have finally turned things around with my life.

Mental Health Impacts You More Than You Think 

For too long I allowed my depression to have a say in my day to day life. It got to the point where I  would go days without eating  and not even eat half an apple and be full. I was always tried which I never understood because I seemed to always be sleeping, I struggled with my schoolwork and it showed in my grades. I took a year off.  I wanted to focus on getting myself better. It was not as easy as I thought it would be, I had my bad days but with each bad day I learnt a lesson to help me get better. I took a Mental Health First Aid Course to help get a better understanding of myself. Everything that we went over hit me in a hard place because I could relate to it too easily. I got myself back into working out which I know made a big difference. I would have a bad day or stressed out  so I would go to the gym and not even 5 minutes later, I would be feeling so much better.

The reason why I’m sharing this is because university is a big step up from high school. I never had to worry about working out because I was always on a sports team. In the run of the week, I would normally have spent 3-4 days after school at practice where I would constantly be physically active. Going to university, it was hard enough keeping up with the schoolwork, so the idea of participating in a school sport team with all the practices and games and focusing on your studies shows a great deal of discipline by the student athletes for which they should really be commended  and they are expected to maintain a certain grade average.  It’s not always easy getting back to my point, I never realized how important being physically active had an impact on one’s mental health.

I am back in school now and I feel like a new me. I’m getting high marks like I used to get in high school and I have a rule that I have to go to the gym at least three times a week if not more. If you’re not happy with how your life is going, take the action that is needed to send you in the right direction, surround yourself with people that don’t bring you down.  You will be surprised how many people will be your friend just because they only feel happy about themselves.  If they’re putting you down, don’t sweat the little things in life, try to live each day as it comes.  If you can put a smile on someone else’s face or cheer someone up, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Thousands of candles can be lightened from a single candle and the life of a single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Worth Living Top 10 Weekly Countdown

Is there a new song you just can’t get out of you head? I asked people on social media what their new favourite song is. Here are some of their responses! Enjoy – Scratchley Q
10. Drake – Signs

9. All Time Low – Good Times

8. Sia – Rainbow

7. Rudimental ft. James Arthur – Sun Comes Up

6. Fergie – Tension

5. Alan Walker – Tired

4. Zendaya ft. Chris Brown – Something New

3. Selena Gomez ft. Marshmello – Wolves

2.  Avicii ft. Rita Ora – Lonely Together

1.Maroon 5 ft. SZA – What Lovers Do (A- Trak Remix)

Worth Living Ambassador Michael Mousseau

My name is Mike and I’m 24.  I have a career in correction services. I have confronted depression and anxiety the majority of my life. I’ve never been truly shy about my struggles, but it’s also hard to find the words to explain the struggles within your head. So let’s take a trip into my world.

Caution : Mike discusses suicide

Progress is Not Always Linear

I’m usually the first person to tell my friends “progress isn’t linear.” “You’ll be alright.” “It’ll get better” But when it comes my own progress, as soon as I feel off track, I’m a mess.

Twice in the last month, I’ve had trouble sleeping. Not just tossing and turning for hours, but being teased by sleeping 2 or 3 hours, then being up for another 2, then falling asleep for an hour or so only to wake up with my mind racing and repeat the cycle until I feel too afraid to close my eyes again. For me, my anxiety spikes when I’m tired. So the vicious cycle is never ending.

This time though, I think I’ve found a new trigger for my anxiety. Death. I knew after Alan died that death made me anxious. Realizing somebody so close to me was struggling before a freak accident, somehow put the idea in my head that because I was struggling, I would soon die too.

This time, a celebrity death. Not a freak accident, or stereotypical OD, But a suicide. And this suicide claimed the life of a musician that I looked up to as an adolescent.

Further research informed me that I related to Chester’s abuse history. Again, the intrusive dark thought process begins.
“Will my past haunt me to the point of suicide?” “Is this my fate as well?”

“Is death the only way these thoughts and feelings will end?”

Being alone with my thoughts isn’t an easy task. I’m stubborn as fuck in the outside world, so being just as stubborn internally makes battling MI so much more difficult. Since a child, I always saw a life for myself. Travel, marriage, kids, adventure. I never once saw myself succumbing to such an ailment. I still don’t.

I know I can be happy. I’ve been before. I still have my days. I’m a much more enjoyable person when I’m confident in my ability to function as a normal human. So struggling and losing all of my self- confidence takes a toll on so many aspects of my everyday life.

I may not feel better tomorrow or next week. That being said, I may very well feel better tomorrow. All I know is that I’m not giving up. Not now. Not ever.

To quote another famous musician with a damning past: “Nothing on this planet is worth ending your life for. Because everything after this is amazing”

Worth Living Ambassador Beth Allen

Worth Living Ambassador Beth Allen is a Mental Health Advocate, and an active video blogger who aims to be informative, fun and truthful whilst showing life with Mental Illness. Having suffered in silence for 10 years with GAD, Emetophobia, Anorexia and Depression, Beth is 100% committed to showing the world that it’s okay to not be okay. In this this video, Beth discusses Living with Emetophobia. Please  subscribe to Beth’s youtube channel. Proud to have her on the WL Team of Advocates!


Beth shares her suggestions for Dealing with Christmas Anxiety . We can all benefit from her video for any holiday or special event. Thanks to Beth for continuing to contribute to this important conversation. We walk this path of mental health awareness together.

Worth Living Ambassador Lorna Morrison

My name is Lorna Morrison and I am a 22 year old Film and Television graduate. I blog about mental health and my recovery from an eating disorder in the hopes that I can aid others to seek the help they deserve. You can follow me on IG @bitingback_blog
and on my personal blog at https://bitingback1995.blogspot.co.uk

Supporting a Loved One through the Christmas Period (Eating Disorders)

The festive period can be hard for those who are dealing with eating disorders. I know for me personally, when I was still in my eating disorder mind set, Christmas was my favourite time of year but also the time when I struggled most mentally. The thought of sitting around a table eating with people, having photos taken, and being surrounded by chocolate tins was something that filled me with massive amounts of anxiety.

I know that if you have to support somebody that you care about who is struggling with an eating disorder, it can also have an impact on you so I thought that I would like to write a post to give you some advice on how to help your loved one to make things easier for them and for yourself.

Let’s get into the advice…

• Don’t sit and watch them whilst they eat. I know this will be hard as you will want to make sure they are eating but trust me this will make things worse as they may become paranoid, people are judging them for how much they are eating and this can subsequently result in eating disorder behaviours.

• Something that is similar to the first point is avoid praising them for how much they have eaten as this can make them think they have over eaten. Just don’t discuss what they are eating/not eating.

• Acknowledge that the loved one will most likely struggle at some point over the festive period, have a discussion with them so that they are aware you are there for them when things may get on top of them. You may have already learnt what triggers them, so if you can see that they are struggling, let them know in private that you are there for them if they need to talk.

• Set a plan of action ahead of time as to what they would find helpful if they do become stressed/anxious.

• You could help them create an eating plan so that they have no shock as to what food will be placed in front of them and they can prepare for this rather than being put under pressure when the time comes for the plate to be put in front of them.

• Plan activities for after meals to help keep their minds distracted from what they may have eaten. This could be getting a board game out that somebody received as a present and having the whole family sit around to play it. I found this extremely helpful when I was struggling with afterthoughts.

• With the new year also approaching at this time, the “diet” talk may come up around the table. Refrain from talking about weight gain, weight loss or things associated with this topic as people struggling with an eating disorder may find this triggering.

• Lastly please be patient! I know this can be hard as it can be difficult to see someone you love feeling this way but try not to get frustrated with them because this can make things worse for them as they start to feel guilt. Just let them know that you’re there for them. Also do not blame yourself for what they are going through! Try to focus on spending time with them and other loved ones and creating an enjoyable, memorable day for all involved.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!


Worth Living Ambassador Haddi Browne

Hello, my name is Haddi. I am a Research professional and a Psychology graduate. During my course, I volunteered within various mental health services, which included working on a helpline for people affected by mental illness, organising activities for inpatients on a psychiatric ward, and working in a therapeutic community for people with severe mental illnesses. For me, the most interesting parts of my degree were learning about different mental illnesses and their causes and treatments.

Good Sleep for Good Mental Health

Having good sleep patterns is important for both physical and mental health.

Poor sleep can cause or worsen mental health issues. Not sleeping well can also slow down recovery from mental illness.

Here are 12 good sleep hygiene practices:

1.Spend the appropriate amount of time asleep in bed – not sleeping too little or too much
2.Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes . Napping does not make up for inadequate nighttime sleep. However, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.
3.Avoid stimulants such as  caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.
4.Drink in moderation. Alcohol is well-known to help you fall asleep faster. However, too much close to bedtime can disrupt sleep in the second half of the night as the body begins to process the alcohol.
5.Exercise to promote good quality sleep, but avoiding strenuous workouts close to bedtime.
6.Close to bedtime, avoid heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks
7.Get as much exposure to natural light as possible. Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle .
8.Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine to help the body realise that it is bedtime. Good bedtime routines may include taking a warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches.
9.Avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to sleep.
10.Make sure that your  sleep environment is pleasant. Your mattress and pillows should be comfortable. Your bedroom should not be too hot or too cold.
11.Adjust or turn off lamps and TV screens as bright lights can make it difficult to fall asleep
12.Consider buying blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices that can make the bedroom more relaxing and comfortable