Bianca Mallon took a step towards her future goals when she approached a Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) family support worker and told her she wanted to be a motivational speaker. “The worker was at my school doing a presentation about suicide. I could relate to what she was saying since I had my own struggles and I realized speaking to people about mental illness was something I wanted to do,” she says. “I started doing talks around Hamilton with SSO and I saw how much people got from hearing my story. Sharing stories is powerful.”
Bianca was bullied in school which caused her to have low self-esteem. She started experiencing depression and anxiety and started feeling suicidal at 15. “Once I got to high school the bullying got worse. I was dealing with a lot, my father was abusive and at school I didn’t feel safe,” she says. “I started to self-harm and experience more frequent panic attacks. Everything felt hopeless.”
Now at 21, Bianca is thankful for her health. She attends counselling when she needs it and speaks out about bullying and mental health. She created an anti-bullying/anti-abuse group on Facebook called “End All Silence Everywhere” and does YouTube videos about mental illness. “I want people to know that it’s okay to have a hard time, especially in your teen years,” she says. “The most important thing is to not give up. With the stigma towards mental health being so strong, people living with mental illness think there is something wrong with them when there isn’t.”
Bianca is taking classes in graphic design and hopes to continue doing talks about mental illness to help people.
If you would like to have Bianca speak, email Michael Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org