Emma first showed symptoms of depression when she was eight years old. Ever vigilant, her parents took the necessary steps to get her help. As the years went by, Emma felt increasingly different from others. She did not share their interest in sports, school or having fun with friends, seeing these things as a chore. Although she was undergoing therapy, Emma wasn’t seeing meaningful results and she did not feel she was getting any better. Something still wasn’t right. At age 12, she finally wrote a long letter to her parents—a heartfelt plea. She told them frankly about her deepest feelings, described the hopelessness and shared her inability to see past her illness. Being this honest with her parents and with herself was Emma’s first major step toward recovering her mental health.
Aware of mental health issues, Emma’s parents made it clear to her that she should not feel any shame about her own situation. With their love and support, she is finally able to look toward the future. When she started high school, she decided to gradually share her story. Emma hopes that talking openly about her depression will help her peers be more open-minded when it comes to mental health issues. Eventually, she also hopes to help young people find the courage to talk, so that they don’t suffer in silence. However, the education process can take some time before it produces the desired results. People have contacted Emma years later to talk about their mental illness and to ask for advice. Emma tells them to not give up hope, and to celebrate small victories that lead to resilience.