A man who was diagnosed with a mental health disorder said it’s his mission to spread awareness to the minority community.
Rwenshaun Miller is a successful entrepreneur who earned a master's degree in counseling, founded a nonprofit and authored a book. He hit rock bottom during his sophomore year in college.
He lost interest in things he used to enjoy and heard voices telling him that he was worthless.
In 2006, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the days, months and years following his diagnosis, Miller struggled with what the disorder meant and how to effectively cope with it. After consistently self-medicating with alcohol and making three attempts to die by suicide, he decided enough was enough.
“My life had a purpose and I had to start walking in it,” Miller said.
After he received treatment and therapy, he blogged about his experience. His hope was that other people would open up about their struggles.
May is National Mental Health Awareness month. Miller’s organization, Eustress Inc., is planning two events to connect people to resources in the community to help them address their mental health issues.
Eustress Inc. was born out of his desire to bring awareness to the importance of acknowledging, improving and preserving mental health, a topic often marked by stigma and denial, particularly in the black community.
Over 42 million people in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness, and approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. each year will experience a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with their life activities.
Miller said there is no doubt that mental illness is a health condition that is preventable or treatable.
“Mental health isn't always just an imbalance in our personalities. It can be anything,” Miller said. “We are all affected by mental health in some fashion whether it’s stress of the day with work, with school, your kids or dealing with finances. These are all things that can be mental health challenges.”
Miller suggests achieving a psychological, emotional and spiritual balance to be able to address those issues.
“You don't have to be ashamed of dealing with any type of mental health challenge,” Miller said, “We are here to help serve you and help you understand that it's going to be OK.”
In Miller’s book, “Injured Reserve: A Black Man’s Playbook To Manage Being Sidelined By Mental Illness,” he says that there is no cure for mental health challenges but that he continues to learn ways to improve his mental wellness through self-education and being conscious of various disorders and coping skills.
“You can continue to live and thrive with any type of mental health challenge,” he said.
Let's Talk About It Mental Health Awareness Walk
The Let's Talk about It Walk Mental Health Awareness Walk will be held at Martin Luther King Middle School in Charlotte. We want to show support for those in the community living with mental disorders and encourage everyone not to be afraid to talk about it.
Registration and check-in for the walk begins at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, May 18 -- 9 a.m. - noon
Let's Talk About It Mental Health Awareness Gala
The Let's Talk About It Mental Health Awareness Gala will be held at the Sugar Creek Brewing Company in Charlotte. Show support for those in the community living with mental disorders and encourage everyone not to be afraid to talk about it.
The evening will begin with a networking hour, followed by the show program at 9 p.m. and then a night of dancing with a live band and DJ.
All proceeds will go to Eustress Inc.'s mission to break the stigma surrounding mental illness in the community.
Starting Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m. and ending Sunday, May 19 at 2 a.m.
PHOTOS: LET’S TALK ABOUT IT WALK
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