Amelia Gillis, LMHC
Strength Over Silence
To my oppressors,
Daily, I attempt to find my place in your world because I'm "different". Questioning my very existence while attempting to define my place here. To you, I am invisible. I see you and yet you don't even know or ask my name. Why am I here? I scream, attempting to find the strength to exist, to fit in. Your oppression has taken its toll on me. I never truly felt as though I was free. You attempted to change somethings so I could feel like you were on my-side. Yet, these small steps still kept me in the bondage you wanted all along. As long as I walk the lines of your rules, I am accepted to a degree and given a slight chance to be the real "me". With restrictions of course because you still have to be in full control.
I wrote this letter to serve you notice, that I will no longer be defined by your rejection because I no longer desire your acceptance. Unity is what I hope for but I won't beg. I realize that until you're ready to change, I won't receive my approval that I thought I needed. I won't conform to your ideas of what is superior and inferior. I will define who I am by understanding whom I am. I am the voice who will fight against your discriminations and hatred. I will raise my voice about what you hate to speak on. I will be the key to the freedom I so desperately needed.
It's time for me to sing my own song and trust that my existence is necessary. That our differences make me necessary. It's time for me to erase the hurtful words and stigmas against me and my mental freedom. It is time for me to erase the labels that "define me". Your power control has been lifted. I recognize that I am more than what you say. I am a minority and that makes me necessary.
Strength Over Silence
No matter someones background, mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. However, culture, race, ethnicity, identity, and sexual orientation can make it harder to access mental health treatment. Minorities are less likely to have access to and use mental health.
These populations have to compete with a culturally insensitive system, racism, discrimination in settings, lower chance of health care coverage, lower quality care, and biases for being a minority and having a mental illness. These individuals also deal with the usual road blocks in addition.
Be an Advocate
We all can do our part in supporting change against these inequalities. Fight the stigma. Learn more about mental health. Become informed and tell a friend. Provide a listening ear. Help someone else see that they can find "strength over silence".