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Campus Stories

It’s Time to Talk Out Loud About Mental Health

People have been taught their whole life to ‘suck it up,’ to ‘stop crying.’

Social Impact Awards emcee Jay Styles and his wife Nari.

Jay Styles (pictured below with son Jack and daughter Elle) believes “the ability to talk out loud about mental health – how others are leading the charge to change the stigma and help others struggling,” is the biggest benefit to having an event like The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Social Impact Awards Luncheon.

The WSHE radio host is the emcee of the March 7th event that will honor Chicago mental health advocates Dan Bigg, Dr. Armand Cerbone and Captain Jeffrey A. Coady, and he’s very well

acquainted with the stigma that so often surrounds mental illness. Styles has lived with depression since he was 13, but was not diagnosed until the age of 29.

“Stigma is the biggest {issue}. People have been taught their whole life to ‘suck it up,’ to ‘stop crying.’ The image of someone with a mental health issue has been portrayed in society and film as someone who is crazy. I basically bought into the saying ‘get busy living or get busy dying’ – literally. After a failed attempt on my life, I put myself in a center {and} started to turn the corner onto the road I am on now.”

In addition to being a suicide survivor and living with depression, Styles has borderline personality disorder and battles anxiety. He speaks very publicly about these issues, and is proud to “wearthese tags – the scars of battles fought and won.” Using his social media platforms, he pleads with those who may be “struggling with your day-to-day, have uneasy thoughts, or can’t see past the dark,” to tell someone, to seek help.

“It’s important for me to continue to share my story — my enthusiasm about overcoming mental health {issues} and living a beautiful life. I want to help others speak up, and no longer live in the darkness. I want them to seek help so they can live the kind of life they want to!”

The Chicago Social Impact Awards Luncheon takes place March 7 at 11:30 a.m. at Maggiano’s Banquets. Purchase tickets.