Mental Health Awareness Month: Alicia Raimundo opens up about her battle with mental illness

A lot of stigmas is associated with different mental health issues affecting a large number of people across the globe. In a situation where mentally ill people are still looked down upon, Alicia Raimundo, from Toronto, Canada, has shown her mettle by opening up about her journey with mental illnesses. She has done so with an aim to let people know that mental illnesses are more common than they actually think.

Popularly known as the “mental health superhero,” Raimundo is working towards reducing the stigma associated with mental health disorders by sharing the way she dealt with her suicidal tendencies at the age of 13 and how she continues to deal with the bouts of anxiety and depression that still plague her.

Raimundo’s struggle

Raimundo realized early that she was different from her peers, at the tender age of six itself. While in public, Raimundo was a quirky, fun girl, a good friend, daughter and above all, a healthy individual; but, in private, she was surrounded by numerous villains named self-hate, anxiety, body image issues, eating disorder, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. Raimundo had a hard time balancing both her inner and outer life.

Since Raimundo did not get the right kind of support when she needed it the most, these inner demons overpowered her life. Defeated, she tried to take her own life and was hospitalized. However, this became a turning point in her life.

In the hospital, Raimundo met an old lady who gave her a necklace with a charm on it that read “hope.” Reading it gave Raimundo a ray of hope and positivity. She began to believe that people with mental illnesses are also humans who can connect with others like any other normal being. She even realized the strength of people with mental illnesses and that their strong points should be celebrated and not brushed under the carpet, so to speak.

Raimundo also realized that asking people to hide their struggles with mental health issues is similar to asking superheroes to defeat the bad guys without any weapons or superpowers. She believes that support, love and proper treatment are the biggest weapons for the mentally ill to fight back their conditions and lead a normal life.

Though Raimundo has not yet recovered completely from her illnesses and still has both amazing and terrible days, she continues to give hope to others.

Effect of mental illness on an individual

Mental illnesses can have wide-ranging effects on individuals. From affecting one’s education, employment, physical health and relationships to substance abuse, mental health disorders can create havoc in one’s life, especially if they are left untreated.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately one in five adults in the U.S.— 43.8 million, or 18.5 percent of the population —experiences mental illness in a given year.

An individual affected by any form of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder develops symptoms, such as, sadness, a confused state of mind, reduced ability to concentrate, excessive fears, extreme mood swings, withdrawal from friends, excessive tiredness, alcohol or drug abuse, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and the likes. Treatment in the form of medications, therapies and counseling can help an individual recover from any form of mental illness.

Seeking help

The month of May is observed as the Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S. Its aim is to spread awareness about mental health illnesses, imparting education about the habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, symptoms of mental health problems, etc.

Therefore, this month of May, let us taka a pledge to help someone who has a mental illness. If you know somebody who is dealing with any form of mental disorder, 24/7 Mental Health Helpline can help. Call our 24/7 Mental Health Helpline number 855-653-8178 to know more about various residential mental health facilities in the U.S. You can also chat online with one of our representatives, who can guide you to one of the best mental health centers in your vicinity.