Today I attended a Mental Health Conference hosted by NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania. One of the most amazing things to me was the attendance for this event was a capacity crowd of over two hundred people. This reinforced to me how much people want to talk about and learn about Mental Illness.
The Keynote Speaker was NFL All-pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder. He is a charming man with a passion for raising awareness for Mental Illness.
Brandon encouraged all of us to use the platform we have to tell our stories and raise Mental Health Awareness. No platform is to small to share how Mental Illness has affected our lives! He stressed how important it is to focus on making an impact one person at a time.
It takes a great deal of courage to talk about one of society’s last major “taboo” topics and to do this as a public figure like Brandon Marshall really inspired me. If Brandon can do this so can each of you reading.
We also heard from a speaker who talked about STIGMA. Interestingly enough one of the ways to combat stigma is through education and sharing personal stories. So there it is again…”share your story.”
On the ride home I felt energized and motivated to continue to disclose my bipolar disorder to various audiences. It is empowering to know I can affect change, even if the change takes place one person at a time.
Talk about Mental Illness openly, honestly, and courageously. You will have an impact too!