The rain kept away the crowd… I’ll assume there would have otherwise been a crowd… but my talk today at Saint Mary’s University went very well, nonetheless. It was the opening of their Mental Health Awareness Month and I was giving the keynote address.
Several of the students in attendance were members of the university’s new initiative, the SMU Healthy Minds Team. This is a group of student volunteers who will work throughout the year to raise awareness of mental health issues and help reduce stigma. Because these volunteers made up the majority of my audience, I tailored my talk to them and spoke directly to their task. This actually made my presentation better.
If there is one message I want to get across to this young population, it is that it is okay to need help. This is the message that I needed to hear, but didn’t, when I was at my lowest point.
The same way you would go to the doctor for a persistent cough, you should go to the doctor for a persistently low mood. Depression is a medical condition. It may not always need medication, but it does require medical attention.
Today was a great day, even with the torrential downpour, because I connected with these bright and engaged students. They even asked if I would come back and talk with their group again.
I told them I would, of course, in a heartbeat.
What would you tell your younger self if you could?