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Some may see mental illness as a weakness, and I wouldn’t blame them because that is what society has taught us. We are trained to feel that if you are struggling with your mental health, there must be something wrong with you. But I disagree, my lived experience has transformed me into a resilient, wise and strong individual. It’s part of who I am and it’s what makes me, well me. I’ve hid my mental illness, from family, friends, teachers, bosses and colleagues for many years because I was too scared that I’d be judged, othered or pitied. I’ve lived a double life for a very long time and it is only in the last few years that I have realized the value in people knowing my story. I live a life with bumps in the road like everyone else but I’ve also struggled immensely at times. 

My experience working in mental health has been quite unique. I wasn’t just working on national, provincial and community programming, strategic partnerships, accommodation guides, patient storytelling and think tanks, I was living it as well. My double identity has always made me look at everything differently and I realized that people could be educated about mental health, but then what? You’re really left to your own devices. There isn’t a manual that aids you with figuring out how to go about treating your mental health. In a time of need you have to do the very thing your mental health may be preventing you from doing – figuring out how to get better. And I know the struggle of trying to get better. I know the pain of dealing with trauma. I’ve seen over a dozen mental health professionals, not because I was fickle but because finding mental health support is dynamic and the system isn’t streamlined. You have to constantly do research and advocate for yourself. 

I have combined my lived, professional and academic experience to offer content that is realistic and actually helpful – content that you can’t find elsewhere. My goal is to share what I know and the support that I have had so that others can also get the help that they need as quickly as possible and live their lives without losing months or years having to learn it all the hard way. 

Stephanie Jones@2x

“If the last 20 years of living with mental illness will help me reach just one person right now, it will have been worth it.”

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