Behind happy faces: talking about mental health
Ross Szabo, an author and award-winning speaker, will share his story of hope and recovery from mental illness on Tuesday.
When Szabo was a freshman, he was like so many others who just want to fit in.
“Everything on the surface seemed to be fine. I was making friends, getting good grades and had a fun social life. However, no one could have imagined how many emotions I was suppressing,” he said. “I tried to hide what I was feeling to convince everyone that everything was OK, but that could only last for so long.”
Szabo was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 16 and was hospitalized for attempting to take his own life during his senior year of high school.
“Ross struggled through life and just put on a happy face to hide his true emotions like so many people do,” said Dianne Hustler, family support coordinator at the Mental Illness Family Support Centre. “People think that they are alone and that there is no hope of feeling better so they just suffer in silence.”
According to the World Health Organization, mental illness is the number one cause of disability in the world. One in five people will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some time in their lives but only one third seek help.
“There is still a lack of understanding and awareness about mental illness,” said Hustler.
Szabo knows that staying silent prevents people from achieving the recovery they are capable of.
“During these difficult times, it is important for people to express what they are going through and reach out for help,” he said, adding that he wants to empower others to seek help for themselves or their loved ones.
This free presentation hosted by the Mental Illness Family Support Centre takes place Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Schubert Centre. Please leave a message at 250-260-3233 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.