1. How old were you when you realized mental health was a thing?
I was in elementary school when I realized mental health was a thing. I grew up in foster care, so my mother made sure I saw a therapist to help us understand our situation a little better, and It kind of helped with other issues I had as a child. I didn’t think of it as something helpful until my father, sister, and uncle passed away and I didn’t know how to cope.
2. Did your parents have any mental issues from your knowledge?
I’m uncertain if my foster or biological parents had mental issues diagnosed by a doctor. However, my foster mother did show very clear signs of depression.
3. If so, how was it growing up ?
My mother didn’t know how to handle her emotions so she would slip into a state of depression where she would either distract herself with work or stay in the room for days. My brother and I were oldest so we spent most of middle school and high school taking care of the other kids in the house. Cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, etc. It was confusing sometimes because one moment she would do everything for us and the next we were left to take care of everything on out own.
4. What hobbies do you practice to keep your mental in tact?
I rock climb, hike, plan international trips, personal research, read, try new things/ food, and when I feel like I’m overwhelmed I sleep or listen to music.
5. What does Mental Health Awareness mean to you?
Giving people the proper tools to help themselves or the people around them. Assuring people that Mental Health illnesses are very common and that we are working on coping mechanisms that cater to every type of person.