NAMI infographic about stigma

Right now, I’m training to become a speaker for the SOLVE program in the San Francisco area. After training concludes, I’ll be part of a bureau that travels to police trainings, schools, companies, and so forth to talk about my experience — with mental illness, with stigma, and with hope. And so it means a lot to me that the National Alliance on Mental Illness New York City Metro reached out to me in order to share their campaign, I Will Listen.

The premise is this: I Will Listen is a social media campaign, designed to invite folks to speak and to listen with regard to mental illness. Something that particularly struck me, and directly touches upon my values regarding transparency and Radical Sincerity, is this: “Silence is spreading. Only 13% of Americans feel it’s okay to tell their coworkers about their mental illness. And only 43% of Americans feel it’s okay to tell friends about it.”

Those numbers form a pit in my stomach. I hope that they form a pit in yours, too.

To participate, pledge to listen on their Facebook page, or use the #iwilllisten hashtag on Twitter. But perhaps what’s most important is what we do outside of social media. Even if you hate Facebook, or don’t chatterbox away on Twitter the way that I do, this event is a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves that we can say something about what’s going on in our lives. There is a movement going on to encourage people to listen. To be open. If you’re not someone with a mental illness, be aware of those around you that do. Let them speak.

There are a lot of us out there. We do great things. We are survivors.

We are all human beings, trying to be our best selves in the ways that we know how. (tweet)