When looking back on his youth, Samuel realizes that there were early signs of a mental health issue. As a child, he had negative thoughts and suffered from anxiety without ever really knowing it or having the language to put it into words. If he had been taught how to take care of his mental health when he was younger, Samuel is sure he would have had a better understanding of what he was going through.
At barely 17, Samuel left a rural area for a large city far from home to attend University and begin his professional career. The pressure was on, from scholarships and academic achievements to engagement in student life and leadership.
During much of his early twenties, Samuel was increasingly flooded by dark thoughts and severe anxiety. He felt like an impostor among the various social and professional circles he belonged to. He lost confidence and began to isolate himself. With the help of a psychologist, Samuel discovered that he was experiencing an episode of generalized anxiety disorder, as well as depression. Together, they explored ways for him to better manage the illness and proactively adopt habits to better manage anxiety and stress.
Since beginning to talk about his experiences, Samuel has often heard colleagues or friends react by saying “I would have never guessed”. To each of these people, Samuel has one simple thing to say: It’s not a guessing game. Mental health affects everyone and no one is immune to illness, whether physical or mental. It’s time to develop the habit of taking care of ourselves, collectively and individually.
In primary school, students are taught proper oral hygiene, so why not make everyone aware of mental health hygiene and the steps to take when distress or illness presents themselves?