What does it say about the reality of what the population at large understands mental health to be when a family and/or friends turn their backs, intentionally, on one living with a mental illness, or mental health disorder, running in the other direction?

It speaks volumes about the lack of understanding of mental health, and the lack of acceptance that we all have mental health which is a part of our overall health. The World Health Organization states, “There is no health without mental health.”

When I was living in my active disease with multiple occurring brain disorders, i.e., substance use disorder, depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder, simultaneously occurring with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, most of my extended family, that being cousins, and aunts and uncles, and a few friends, turned their backs and walked right out of my life, never to be heard from again. Some of these relationships were close knit, and I had given graciously and tirelessly to these relationships over the span of decades. I loved these beings dearly. They whispered about my illness, they judged my disorders, they showed no compassion for the involuntary behavioral responses to my disorders that I was experiencing, and definitely never stopped to ask me, “What happened to you?” Rather, they said, “What’s wrong with you?”

There was a time at the beginning of my recovery, nine years ago, that I felt abandoned, ashamed, and that I had done something wrong. That was…

Until I began my journey of healing, wellness, and empowering myself through training, education, and beginning my work in the field of mental health and substance use disorder. Through my lived experience, and my field experience, I have been empowered through my own experiences, and the experiences of those I serve.

I believe that many times when someone close to us observes us with a mental illness, it may bring a reality to the forefront of their own lives that may be extremely uncomfortable, and may be too painful to face. They may be unwilling to admit that within themselves, their family, or within their closest circle, they are experiencing mental health symptoms/disorders/disease. This mindset is attached to stigma. This is the reason I work tirelessly to raise awareness on mental health through my own experiences, through my work, through my speaking engagements, and through the workshops that I teach on mental health and wellness.

Learn about mental health and be an educated being. Sit with one who is experiencing symptoms. Hold their hand. Listen without judgement. Ask what they need. Offer your time.

Take a class.

Take my Mental Health & Wellness workshop.

Listen to a mental health podcast.

When you fear something, anything, learn about it and understand where your fear is originating from. The answer is always within.

Rather than judge others and shake your head in disapproval, recognize that we all have mental health. When we begin a journey of exploration of misinformation, we have an opportunity to exercise empathy for others, while at the same time, exploring our deepest fears about mental health, and giving ourselves permission to feel whatever we feel. Subsequently, we can choose to empower ourselves through education about mental health.

I am trying to promote a global culture and climate shift to wellness in recovery. Let us have an open, ongoing dialogue. Let us normalize mental health. Let us create a ripple effect in understanding mental health from a public health approach where we all have mental health.

We can choose illness, judgement, and ignorance and remain a part of the unhealthy mindset about mental health, fueling the stigma, or we can choose wellness and self care/healthy practices, empathy, compassion, and education in order to empower ourselves and become a part of the solution for global wellness through an integrative approach, body, mind and spirit.

Here is where we stand in our power, and we, then in turn, have the power to serve others.

When we mindfully work to shift our perception to wellness, our reality becomes our power.

Learn about my workshops that will be a first step for many in mental health education.


Love and blessings,




Wendy Blanchard