Every year on the last week of January, Bell, one of Canada's largest telecommunications companies, holds a campaign called Bell Let's Talk, which raises awareness on mental health and the stigma surrounding it. It originated in September 2010, and every year, millions of Canadians across the country, including musicians, public figures, politicians, and professional athletes, join in on the discussion. Although we have come a long way when it comes to this topic, we definitely need a lot more to go, as mental health is still being looked down upon in our society.

I first gained knowledge of this issue in the Summer of 2011, after the Vancouver Canucks's loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. It was with the passing of former Canucks player Rick Rypien that truly made me want to learn about what mental health was, and how it affects us. When I entered Grade 10 in the 2011-2012 school year, the neighbourhood house I regularly volunteered at held an initiative where students get together to create a cause surrounding an issue that is relevant to our society. From there, three students in my grade, including myself, chose to create our project about mental health - in the end, we designed posters to be hung up around the hallways of the high school I attended, as well as creating Powerpoint presentations for the Planning 10 classes that some of my peers were enrolled in.

As I meet more people and gain more opportunities in my studies and in the career I plan on going into, the topic of mental health becomes more and more important to me. One memory I will never forget happened at around early 2017; I found myself extremely unhappy with life and I felt like I had reached an absolute low point. I ended up quitting part-time jobs, not attending classes that I paid to enrol myself in, and worst of all, lose the people that I thought I considered to be my friends. On-and-off since at a young age, I was struggling with self-esteem and confidence issues – but this time, it felt like those problems were directly hitting me inside. Each day felt strenuous, which ended up turning into weeks. These issues I had dealt with internally made me end up staying at home and isolating myself inside my bedroom. In addition to my struggles with self-esteem and confidence, also came with the concept of "FOMO" (fear of missing out), and I thought being alone would help solve the fact that I didn't need to have fun when the weather was getting hotter and the days were getting longer.

However, this moment that has occurred in my life has changed me for the better. When my friends realized I was not answering their text messages or Snapchats, they definitely knew what was up, and some even offered to lend a voice when I needed it the most. As well, I'm glad that some people I was initially acquaintances with, are now close friends that I can confide to. When I rediscovered my niche upon transferring to SFU in September 2017, that was when I slowly picked up who I was again and got back to doing what I loved doing the most, which was dabbling in graphic design and social media. It may sound odd, but something as simple as a hobby and/or career, as well as transferring to a post-secondary that provides room for growth and tons of opportunities for its students, has really helped me mentally, and grow as a person. By doing the things I love doing and keeping myself busy, is what makes me and defines who I am.

I'd like to thank everyone so far for being a part of this journey, and for enabling me to do the things I've always dreamt and wanted to do. I'd also like to say that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Once upon a time in my life, I felt like the whole world was against me. But, be surprised at how much the people around you are willing to help you, whether they're your family, your friends, or even an acquaintance. No matter what battle you're fighting, it is always worth it in the end.