Some people need medication for their mental health. These selfies show that's perfectly OK.

Because why should we be ashamed of what makes us well?

What do you do when you're not feeling well? Like really, really unwell — to the point where you don't want to (or can't) get out of bed.


Poor Jake. GIF from "Adventure Time."

You probably think "It's time to go to the doctor." And once you get that sweet, sweet pain- and fever-reducing prescription, you can barely contain yourself from skipping to the pharmacy (or maybe that's just me?).

Many of us wouldn't think twice about sharing the fact that we got a prescription to help us feel like our old selves again.

But when it comes to taking medication for mental illness, there's more social stigma involved. That's why blogger Erin Jones decided to post a selfie with her prescriptions for anxiety and antidepressant medication on Facebook: to show that there's no shame in getting the help we need.

Screenshot via Mutha Lovin' Autism/Facebook.

The post spread like wildfire, and she teamed up with The Mighty to spark the hashtag #MedicatedAndMighty. Folks posted tweets and Instagram selfies (often with their medication or prescriptions) to fight the stigma around mental health meds.



Here's why this is so important: A look at 22 studies shows that one of the biggest obstacles to getting treatment and staying on medication is embarrassment and stigma.

If we remove unfair preconceptions about mental health treatment, more people will be able to live happier and healthier lives.

The popularity of #MedicatedAndMighty shows that people who take medication for mental health are far from alone.

In fact, an estimated 1 in 5 Americans take at least one mental health medication. That's more than 63 million people.



A quick look at the selfies brings home the reality that there is no "typical" person who takes mental health medication.

You can't tell whether someone takes medication for their anxiety just by looking at them. That's why this hashtag — and this movement — is so powerful. The decision to publicly share their status combats stereotypes on two levels: It shows there is no shame in having mental illness ... or taking medication for it.




Breaking the silence around mental health and medication is a win. By fighting stigma, we're encouraging people who struggle with mental illness to find the best way to get help.

The hashtag isn't about pushing everyone with a mental health issue to take medication. It is about fighting stigma and empowering people who take medication to be unapologetic and unashamed.

Because why should we be ashamed of doing what we need to be well?

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
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