You are not alone.
This message was the impetus for The Dialogue Projects, a social enterprise created to end stigma surrounding mental illness and to support programs that provide people faced with mental health challenges with care and resources. We at L&L Consulting are passionate about sharing stories around mental health as it helps reduce stigma in our communities at large, in our workplaces, and individually, helps us all manage our own mental health a little bit better. We are so fortunate that The Dialogue Projects were able to write up this post for us on the value and power of sharing stories - Thank you!
Our personal experiences with mental illness and supporting loved ones through mental illness led us to the conclusion that stigma was preventing people from seeking the help that they need. What we learned by sharing our own stories with each other was that we gained hope and courage and because our struggles felt less stigmatized we were empowered to become advocates for mental health.
Part of our mission at The Dialogue Projects is to share Voices to show that mental illness comes in all shapes and sizes and can fall anywhere along a very wide spectrum. It can impact people of all different races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds and sexual orientations. Sometimes it is the person you least expect, who appears happy and to have everything , that is struggling the most. On the other hand, someone who has long struggled with depression or bipolar disorder is multidimensional, with more to share than just their disease. What we learn from all their stories is that people are not defined by a mental health challenge – they can and do have lives filled with successes and happiness, in addition to the ups and downs of mental illness.
The benefit of sharing stories is two-fold: having an outlet to take ownership of your story is a very powerful medicine; and reading a story that you can relate to, or in which you see something of yourself, can spur people to confide in someone, lean on an existing support system, seek out a new resource and to have hope that things can and will get better.
Step by step, story by story, we are keeping the ball rolling for mental health together – so that no one suffers in silence, and no one feels alone.
How do you feel about sharing your stories? We would love to hear from you! Please contact us for more information on how you can incorporate sharing stories into your workplace culture.