Content note: Discussion of suicide.
Talking about our own mental health issues is a personal choice, one that isn’t right for everyone. But as producer and activist Nikki Webber Allen explores in this TED Residency talk, sharing your story can be even more powerful when you’re a member of a marginalized community where mental health stigma is especially strong.
It took weeks before I could admit it, but the doctor was right: I was depressed. Still, I didn’t tell anybody about my diagnosis. I was too ashamed. I didn’t think I had the right to be depressed. I had a privileged life with a loving family and a successful career. And when I thought about the unspeakable horrors that my ancestors had been through in this country so that I could have it better, my shame grew even deeper. I was standing on their shoulders. How could I let them down? I would hold my head up, put a smile on my face and never tell a soul.
As with many things, the fight against stigma has disproportionally benefited wealthy white communities, and too many people suffer in silence as a result. As Allen points out, for people in a safe, healthy position to do so, speaking up can be a powerful act that can make a lot of change.