A strong, honest and confident mother of two, Valene Coker doesn’t much care for how others may view a person living with a diagnosed mental illness.
“A diabetic has to have insulin,” she notes in a matter of fact manner. “I may need medication for my anxiety. And that’s OK.”
While she admits to feeling the stigma associated with mental illness, Coker wastes little energy worrying about such things. She’s too busy raising her young daughters and focused on living a healthy life.
Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day.
For this day, Ontario Shores asked me to give this audience a real idea of what mental illness looks like for people. Well, actually, I wanted to give you a sense of what mental illness looks like from my perspective.
It’s been 10 years since I professionally entered the mental health world.
I vividly recall making the move from journalism to communications in the mental health sector and immediately recognizing how little the media and society seemed to care about this issue. I would conduct media searches regularly, only to find a sparse amount of news stories on mental health. And, if I did find a story, it was commonly negative in nature with a vast number of inaccuracies that further perpetuated the stigma associated with people struggling with mental health and mental illness.