Cassaundra Henske has been affected by mental illness — in one way or another — for most of her life.
People in her life, as well as Cassaundra, have for a long time suffered from depression, and by age 19 she felt driven to break the cycle. That, in large part, is how Break the Silence, End the Stigma was founded.
“You see T-shirts that say ‘I beat cancer’ but you never see one that says ‘I beat depression,’ and that’s how this campaign began,” she said.
“Although I haven’t always needed medication, I need to do things to keep up with my symptoms, and things like a good diet and different types of meditation and mindfulness work for me,” she said.
But despite her efforts, her issues with mental illness continued. Her father went through a depressive phase when she was young, and her own battle led to a suicide attempt at just 13 years of age.
“I grew up in a rough home environment, and my issues and the stigma with mental illness only followed me when I moved. I thought I could pretend my issues didn’t exist, but that didn’t work.”
Six months into her stay in Wolfville, a close friend attempted suicide.
“It just struck me, and I realized we were both struggling in silence. We weren’t the only ones, either,” she said. “I realized we had to start talking about this. I had been affected by it enough and I felt a responsibility to make a change.”
Visit the campaign’s website at http://www.bsescampaign.com, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their Facebook (Facebook.com/BreaktheSilenceEndtheStigma) or Instagram (Instagram.com/bsescampaign).