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The People Speak (https://www.flickr.com/photos/saulalbert/34991210106)

Editor’s Note—We Build the Best When We Build Together

This edition is dedicated to those who struggle; those who know and those who love and accept. Focusing on mental health awareness, students’ experiences–not through interviews but through their own submissions–take center stage.

Firstly, as challenging and as scary as it may be, you should be able to be yourself without feeling like your behaviors are unacceptable or problematic.

Secondly, you are not flawed for your mental health issue or issues. Our society is flawed for making you feel you need to become better at camouflaging something that should be accepted and understood in the first place–but I believe we can be a major force in reshaping our community and society at large.

I greatly appreciate and respect the strength, bravery and honesty of the contributors to this month’s issue and the mental health awareness conversation broadly. To those of you who struggle sharing your experiences, let alone getting out of bed in the morning, you are much braver than you could ever know for continuing to find hope and strength in yourself to continue each day!

I hope everyone remembers the world needs you to show up and shine with all the unique qualities you bring every single day. Many of you have gone through so much yet here you are–proving to your demons you are here to stay and here to show others this life will always be worth living.

Additionally, please keep in mind the only way to destigmatize anything is to continue discussing the subject and refusing to allow it to slide through the cracks, no matter how difficult or controversial it may be.

Although I have never been diagnosed with any mental illness, I hope you share my interest, passion and devotion in standing as an ally to those who have felt both empowered and defeated by their mental state.

The goal of this edition is to help normalize the belief we are all different in beautiful ways and we are all humans deserving of love, acceptance, appreciation and celebration. Let this thought carry you throughout this edition and beyond.

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