Despite advances in our understanding of mental illnesses, the biggest barriers for people needing help is the role that stigma plays in their lives.
One in four Americans will be affected by a mental health disorder, and many more will have a family member who’s affected.
This month we interviewed someone who lives with the everyday stigmas, traumas, and effects of mental health. Meet Torré White, “mompreneur,” author, and activist.
Born and reared in Asheville, North Carolina, Torré has overcome many obstacles in her life, such as being brought up in a low-income single-parent household and then becoming a single parent herself. Torré says her “environmental factors only magnified and exacerbated her silent battle with mental health.”
Throughout her life, Torré has been described as a self-determined and compassionate individual, so it comes as no surprise that she has received numerous awards and recognitions for her community service, activism, and program development. Her passion for activism led her to join several organizations that advocate for workers’ rights.
Empowering others daily, she is continually learning not be afraid of her truth, but instead, to bring mental health awareness into the public arena. While Torré may appear to “have it all together” on the surface, privately she battles the ongoing adversities of her illness.
Being fearful of her family’s reaction to the stigmas associated with mental illnesses, she kept her struggles with anxiety and depression hidden—until now. Torré’s experiences have led her to co-author a book about mental health awareness for those living with the illness, and especially people suffering in the black community.
In her book, It’s Not That Easy: Stop Telling Me to Get Over It, Torré shares her personal struggle with mental illness and conveys a message of hope, encouragement, and faith. This book will tell the stories of 12 different individuals’ experiences with mental illness.
As Torré explains, “You will hear from those who are personally living with different types of mental illness (like myself), and people who have family members, friends, and therapists coping with their experiences. There will be information on how to cope with undiagnosed and diagnosed mental health issues, as well as various other resources.”
She continues, “People with mental illnesses are able to cope or even recover, but only when their issue is confronted and dealt with directly and the person gets the support they need.”
Mental illness is ubiquitous and genuine as any other aspect of a person’s general health. When an individual is experiencing thought or behavior patterns that negatively impact their quality of life, it is appropriate to address them just as any other health concern should be addressed.
Torré’s book creates a space to start a comfortable conversation surrounding mental health resources and is available for preorder today at torre.itsnotthateasybook.com.
The book will be released nationally in the spring of 2019.
For More Information About Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a nationwide advocacy group that provides education and support for people suffering the effects of mental illness. The local chapter—NAMI Western Carolina, 356 Biltmore Ave., Ste. 207, Asheville, NC 28801—is supported by volunteers who want to support you in your recovery and caregiving. For assistance, contact them by phone at (828) 505-7353 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The C3356 Comprehensive Care Center located in Asheville is a one-stop treatment and resource center for mental health services, substance use/addiction recovery support, and support for individuals who have behavioral health needs and co-occurring developmental disabilities. It offers care and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For more information call (828) 254-2700.
Famous People & Mental Illness
Mental illness affects emotions, mood, perceptions, and behavior. People of all levels of intellectual ability can be afflicted. Many famous people and celebrities have coped with symptoms of mental illness, including Sir Isaac Newton, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Michelangelo, Vincent Van Gogh, Peter Tchaikovsky, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Virginia Woolf, Dick Clark, Marlon Brando, Carrie Fisher, Ruth Graham, Jane Pauley, Brooke Shields, Charlie Pride, Bette Midler, Janet Jackson, Patty Duke, Buzz Aldrin, Chrissy Teigen, Michael Phelps, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Radcliffe, Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson, Lisa Nicole-Carson, Demi Lovato, Prince Harry, Lady Gaga, Adele.