It doesn’t matter what your name is or where you’re from: mental health is something that affects us all more than we care to say. It’s like we’re all scared to say that “m” word. But why? Who taught us that talking about mental health is a bad thing? NO ONE. So why is there such a big stigma around it?

Quite honestly, I don’t know why this stigma exists, but I’m ready to end it. Take a moment to think about someone you know who has struggled or currently struggles with his or her mental health. It might be your best friend, your brother, your mom, your cousin, or maybe it is you who is struggling. Maybe the answer is all of the above, and that is completely okay. In fact, that is NORMAL. Humans aren’t perfect, and we all struggle at one point or another in our lives. And if you try to tell me that you’ve never struggled, then you’re lying to me and yourself.

There’s all sorts of mental health issues. Some last for hours while others last for years. Some aren’t too worrisome while others are. Have you ever studied for hours upon hours for a test and just can’t seem to understand the material? So finally, you just break down crying because you can’t handle the stress anymore. Have you ever had so much going on in life where you feel so overwhelmed that you hide in your room for hours not wanting to talk to anyone? Have you ever felt so much pressure during sport’s practice from a coach that you crumble and fall short? These examples prove that almost everyone in the world struggles at one time or another with their mental health. Yes, almost all seven billion people on this Earth. Can you believe that? Well you probably should.

Here’s my challenge to you: change your attitude towards mental health. Struggling with it isn’t something to be ashamed of because WE ALL GO THROUGH IT. Everyone carries a little bit of anxiety in them. Everyone gets super sad every now and then. So, if we all go through it one time or another, why do we judge people with anxiety or depression who endure it for longer periods of time? Why do we single them out and make them feel different? If you can’t answer the why to these questions, then stop putting yourself on a pedestal and looking down on them. We’re all playing this game called life on the exact same field. Instead of thinking of someone as different because they have a mental illness, try to open your mind and heart to them. Listen to their story, and you’ll realize just how similar you are to them.

So I leave you with this: screw the mental health stigma. We millennials need to be the generation to end this – for the sake of ourselves and our kids. Do it for the ones you’ve lost and the ones you still have. Spread awareness and love, not judgement and hate.