In the tail-end of this series, we really acknowledge some of the bigger elephants in the room we all face each and every day. And this week’s elephant is a big one that likely we’ve all experienced first hand or with those we love. Mental health disorders have been around for as long as we’ve been walking the planet, but bringing them out of the dark has been a fairly recent phenomenon. Even as recently as 3 or 4 decades ago, depression and anxiety were rarely diagnosed as clinical disorders, and in previous generations, people with more profound issues that are now treatable were hidden away from society by their families or locked up in institutions. And while there have been huge strides made in the past or so regarding treatment of now commonly diagnosed mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, there is still reticence to recognize its impact and shame taken on by those who deal with it. The time has come to bring these issues out of the dark as we see the growing impact of unchecked mental illness and where it leads for those who don’t know where or how to get help. One of the people that’s leading the charge toward legitimizing mental health conditions in a bigger way is the founder of To Write Love On Her Arms, Jamie Tworkowski. Jamie founded TWLOHA after guiding a friend through her struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. He saw the need for guidance in this space and created a world-renowned organization that offers resources and help to those who need it most. Jen and Jamie talk about the painful process of loving our people when they are hurting, how to give our own selves grace when we struggle, and why mental health needs to be treated as seriously as physical health.
Content Warning: This episode addresses hard topics including anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, so it may not be suitable for young listeners or individuals on the path to healing.