For the past 48 hours I have been struggling with how to write this blog. It has been so hard because it is tragic and heavy topic, I wish that people knew they were loved. It's hard because we still live in such a stigmatized society where mental illnesses such as depression are still heavily stigmatized in areas and if not stigmatized in your area there is still a serious lack of professional support. With the suicide of Stevie Ryan on July 1, 2017 the mental health community was shaken and entered a state of shock.
If you don’t know who Stevie Ryan was here is a brief overview of her career as an actress. Stevie’s career started from YouTube where she would impersonate celebrities and create parodies. She collaborated with New Wave Entertainment to create “Stevie TV” where she created parodies of popular reality TV shows such as toddlers and tiaras and real housewives. Stevie TV was later noticed by a producer at VH1 (an American cable channel) where they aired Stevie TV. Stevie TV ran for 2 seasons from March 4, 2012 to July 12, 2013. Stevie was also a well-known YouTuber hosting two channels: Little Loca and Sceney Sceneable with more than 100K combined followers where she continued to write, produce and film shows after the cancellation of Stevie TV. Stevie’s latest adventure was a podcast series called Mentally Ch(ill) which was produced in collaboration with Kristen Carney and focused on the topic of depression which is something that both host struggle with. This podcast series had 11 one hour long episodes focusing on the topics of medication, dating, and low self-esteem.
Mental illness knows no boundary be it age, race, gender or socioeconomic status. To many it may appear that Stevie Ryan had it all, she achieved her dream of becoming an entertainer after moving to LA from the small town in California. She was popular and had many followers who adored her and she had a certain charisma about her. But as is the case with many who suffer from depression, is what Stevie hid from her audiences as depression told a hold of her mental state. If you are a person who is struggling with mental illness please know that you are loved and you are cared for. Please reach out and get help as there are many great resources such as therapists, medications and professionals that can aid you in feeling better, it may not happen overnight but it will happen if you are willing to put in the hard work, if you are not sure how to get help please check out the Help section. mindyourmind has co-created many resources such as the Be Safe app which is available in 29 regions across Ontario including an Ontario-wide option. The app allows you to create a digital safety plan which can be accessed at any time and anywhere, and it has a decision tree which gives the user the best resources in their region. We have also created interactives tools and games such as Reach Out 8-Bit game which was created to help high school youth learn more about mental health and Reach Out Notebook which is aimed at post-secondary youth.
Reach out, get help, and give help!