It seems like a no-brainer – good mental health and well-being help us enjoy our life and the people in it, right?
But individuals struggling with mental health issues can experience fear, rejection, and stigma that severely impacts their quality of life. Many of these people have even been denied adequate housing, loans, health insurance, and jobs.
Too often stigma gets in the way of asking for help, and there are many who struggle with mental health challenges, but find it difficult to talk about it with family, friends, or coworkers.
For people like AJ, there was a time where mental health challenges controlled his life.
“I should have been successful, but I wasn’t.”
When AJ was nine or ten, he was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – this also led to other diagnoses, including generalized anxiety and depression.
Growing up, he was in the gifted program at school but was getting into shouting matches with his teachers. By the time he was in grade 10, he had dropped out.
“I felt like no one was listening to me.”
His illness made it difficult to get along with his family; his depression got to the point where it was so bad, it manifested as suicidal thoughts. By the time he was 18, he ended up leaving home and had no money, no education, and very little social life.
Programs and supports
Mental health is one of our most critical community needs – while Island Health and its first responders are there to provide urgent medical responses to mental health issues, it’s United Way that works with partner agencies on community-based initiatives focused on mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention.
United Way is creating a more inclusive community and ensuring those impacted by #UNIGNORABLE mental health issues can easily access the services they need before these issues become deep-rooted.
Click here to donate today and and help ensure people like AJ thrive!