Holly Ansel holds fond memories of her early years spent in California. Born there, she spent her first and “best” years there until her move to New York at a young age. Holly expresses how fortunate she was to receive emotional support from family and her new teachers throughout her transition to the East Coast. However, she knows that often there is not that level of support during many life-changing events that young people experience. Holly says that the move, at so young, helped her in stepping forward when she was struggling or in need of help as the years progressed. In the process of her move, she saw the benefits of talk-therapy and the outcomes that can result when a person seeks, and works through the issues they experience in life. She claims that, “The skills I learned from that move, at such a young age, prepared me more than I could have known for both my future and life as a whole. ”
Holly explains that mental health as a whole is a topic talked about behind closed doors or not at all. If anything, the topic of mental health is one shoved under the rug and ignored—often until it is too late. In her environment, Holly saw from a very young age the clear stigma that mental health is subject to, a negative and embarrassing part of many lives.
According to Holly, stigma is even stronger among her classmates and teenagers as a whole in her high school, Friends Academy. “You see, a problem with a lot of people is that the perception of mental health is linked with weakness; but anyone who has experienced it firsthand knows there is nothing further from the truth. For me, the most important thing is to understand that everybody struggles, and mental health is not something that should be ignored. It should be destigmatized.”
Without stigma, the possibilities and goals our society can achieve are virtually limitless. In removing negativity and shame for those who deal with mental health, the embarrassment that many feel when experiencing mental health issues will no longer prevent people from dealing with a mental health issue. Holly believes that if people were more open and understanding to the subject of mental health, then everybody in our culture has the opportunity to benefit—regardless if they have dealt with any mental health issues. She knows the heights that this field can achieve are immeasurable. Holly aims to be more than active in the fruition of a new perspective on mental health.