Humans are storytellers but when it comes to mental health what kind of story are we sharing? In this post, I’d like to discuss why it’s important to share our mental health stories, how to address the fear of revealing your tale, as well as suggest some ways to you can share your story.
Conversations for change
Sharing our stories of mental illness is a positive force for change opening up communication channels with family, friends and even strangers. When we’re authentic and vulnerable, those reading our stories may feel more inclined to open up about their struggles. Someone reading your account may be inspired to share their story too!
The first time I shared a piece of my story; different groups of people began reaching out. Some of these readers were old friends, some were strangers, and some were family members who confided in me that they too had experienced mental illness. These lines of communications are healing for both the reader and the writer!
As human beings, we’re hardwired for storytelling as well as for a deep need to understand the world around us. Unfortunately, when it comes to mental illness and mental health, we have closed off those discussions and instead propagate stigma. Whether it’s out of fear or lack of understanding, we can’t hope for change if we’re not actively engaging in the conversation.
Getting over the fear
Recently I gave a talk to a small group at a local behavioral health services center. The theme of the conversation was ‘Inspiring Hope.’ During the Q&A section of the meeting, one of the members asked me a question that I wasn’t expecting. She asked, “How did you get over the fear of sharing your story?”
How do we get over the fear of sharing our mental health stories? In this climate of stigma where news outlets are reporting on violence and pointing the finger at mental illness are we even safe to share our stories? I would say stigma is why we should share our stories and it motivates me to continue sharing my own.
According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), “approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. – 9.8 million, or 4.0% - experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” This stat means that someone we know is probably suffering and most likely afraid to reach out. These people deserve to know that they’re not alone and your story can help.
Practical tools to share your story
We live in a unique time when technology allows us to access and share information in the blink of an eye. Many of us walk around with a supercomputer in our pocket and with these devices we can distribute content to millions of people around the world for free. If you feel like you’re ready to share your story with the world, I implore you to investigate what that would look like using your smartphone.
Some ways to get up and running sharing your story might include the following:
- Create a blog using Instagram where you can share your story through both images and words.
- How about a YouTube Channel? Most smartphones record in High Definition that means you could start a high-quality channel today.
- If getting in front of a camera isn’t your thing check out Blogger or WordPress where you could potentially build your website!
Again the tools are available, the need is ever present, and your story matters!
The Good Men Project is different from most media companies. We are a “participatory media company”—which means we don’t just have content you read and share and comment on but it means we have multiple ways you can actively be a part of the conversation. As you become a deeper part of the conversation—The Conversation No One Else is Having—you will learn all of the ways we support our Writers’ Community—community FB groups, weekly conference calls, classes in writing, editing platform building and How to Create Social Change.
Here are more ways to become a part of The Good Men Project community:
Request to join our private Facebook Group for Writers—it’s like our virtual newsroom where you connect with editors and other writers about issues and ideas.
Click here to become a Premium Member of The Good Men Project Community. Have access to these benefits:
- Get access to an exclusive “Members Only” Group on Facebook
- Join our Social Interest Groups—weekly calls about topics of interest in today’s world
- View the website with no ads
- Get free access to classes, workshops, and exclusive events
- Be invited to an exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” with other Premium Members
- Commenting badge.
Are you stuck on what to write? Sign up for our Writing Prompts emails, you’ll get ideas directly from our editors every Monday and Thursday. If you already have a final draft, then click below to send your post through our submission system.
If you are already working with an editor at GMP, please be sure to name that person. If you are not currently working with a GMP editor, one will be assigned to you.
Are you a first-time contributor to The Good Men Project? Submit here:
Have you contributed before and have a Submittable account? Use our Quick Submit link here:
Do you have previously published work that you would like to syndicate on The Good Men Project? Click here:
Join our exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” — where community members are encouraged to discuss the issues of the week, get story ideas, meet other members and get known for their ideas? To get the call-in information, either join as a member or wait until you get a post published with us. Here are some examples of what we talk about on the calls.
Want to learn practical skills about how to be a better Writer, Editor or Platform Builder? Want to be a Rising Star in Media? Want to learn how to Create Social Change? We have classes in all of those areas.
While you’re at it, get connected with our social media:
However, you engage with The Good Men Project—you can help lead this conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Join us!
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Originally Published on charlesminguez.com