In honor of BYU's Mental Health Awareness Week, Tanner Mangum took to Twitter to share a brave but powerful message, one that will resonate with many members who have experienced depression or anxiety personally or through someone close to them:
“It’s Mental Health Awareness Week here at BYU and I want to speak out about something that I consider very personal and real. Not many people know that I suffer from mild depression and anxiety. I take antidepressants every day to help with my condition, have visits with a counselor, and I am not ashamed; on the contrary, I am proud to embrace my own personal journey, accept and love myself—flaws and all. I am grateful to be able to raise my voice and stand up for those who experience similar struggles. This might be surprising to many, due to my normally optimistic, outgoing and happy personality, but I hope we can understand that just because someone is beaming brightly on the outside, doesn’t mean they are free from their own personal struggles underneath the surface. We are all human, each with unique battles, and I promise that these battles are better fought together, not alone. Mental illness is one of my personal battles and I want to offer my love and support to all those who suffer in one way or another. You are not alone. There is help. Let’s focus on accepting and love one another for who we are and celebrate our humanity. It’s a beautiful thing. Let’s erase the stigma surrounding mental health.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke to this topic in his October 2013 conference talk, "Like a Broken Vessel." Elder Holland shared:
"We have all taken courage from those who, in the words of the Prophet Joseph, 'search[ed] … and contemplate[d] the darkest abyss' and persevered through it—not the least of whom were Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Elder George Albert Smith, the latter being one of the most gentle and Christlike men of our dispensation, who battled recurring depression for some years before later becoming the universally beloved eighth prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend."