The S Word

Worth Living Ambassador Felicia Singh

Hello, my name is Felicia. I am a 25 year old healthcare professional and
counseling/psychology student with anxiety. As well as someone with an unexplainable
yearning to understand mental health disorders. The who, what, where, when, and whys of it all

The S Word

1 of every 5 adults experience some sort of mental illness every year. 1 of every 5 youths
between the ages of 13-18 also experience some sort of mental illness every year, yet mental
illness is still a stigma. What can we do to change this?

If you are someone that does not have a mental illness, you may feel as if the discussion does
not concern you when in fact it concerns us all. Let’s look at it this way. I mentioned above the
amount of us who are affected by a mental illness yearly and for some a lifetime. Chances are
this applies to you or someone you know. Mental illness shows no bias to an individual’s race,
gender, religious beliefs, occupation, etc. We tend to get uncomfortable about discussing
anything mental health related because no one wants to be written off or labeled as being

Someone with a mental illness is not defined by that illness and is not any less of a
person because of it. Too often in society mental illness is viewed as threatening or something
extremely abnormal.

I think a huge part of ending the stigma that surrounds mental illness is talking about it more.
Many of us may feel uncomfortable when sharing details about our mental health. Let’s start
there. Mental health is equally as important as your physical health. The brain works as a
control center for the entire body. It contains billions of nerve cells that coordinate our thoughts,
emotions, behaviors, and movement. It has everything to do with everything and that fact
although I’m not sure how is often overlooked. If you break your arm or have an odd rash, you
would usually go to a doctor. Seeing a physician for a mental health issue should not be any
different. Coming from someone that has been in the medical field for five years, I can honestly
say that there is no reason to feel ashamed about discussing a mental health issue. We’ve
practically seen and heard it all.

The comfort level you have with yourself and your mental illness definitely affects how those around you will deal with it as well. I always reassure patients who are hesitant to discuss something that we are here to help them and we can’t do that properly if there is a communication gap. You should take your time when choosing your health
care provider. It’s important to feel comfortable with your doctor and their staff.

We all have a role in helping to end the stigma that surrounds mental health. The easier it
becomes to talk about, the more aware others will be. Whether you know someone who is
affected by a mental illness or not, people are still people at the end of the day. And caring
about the wellbeing of others is just… well human. EVERY life has purpose and is worth living

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