You are not alone in this battle. These brave individuals came forward to share their stories with us at the recent She Talks Asia conference on mental well-being, iMatter. Here are some morsels of wisdom, real but raw sound bites, and pieces of advice that might change the way you feel about yourself and how you treat others.

Art is therapy. Just like poetry, prayer, and letter writing, the visual arts control can ‘tremors’ of mental patients
Dinah Nadera, co-founder of Foundation for Advancing Wellness Instruction & Talent (AWIT)
I was doing everything right but didn’t feel self-fulfilled and I was unhappy. I couldn’t get out of bed and I had crying spells. It’s so exhausting when you feel you cannot ‘touch it.’ So, when I wrote my thoughts down, I could make the distinctions as to what was important. When I put things from pen to paper, it became tangible, it became something that I owned. I overcame depression the natural way
Claudia Barretto, the first time she talked about her high-functioning depression and anxiety
I’m diligent about being self-reflective. Mental health… Just because it’s not a physical wound and we can’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. The brain is also a biological thing that can be helped with treatment and medication, and there’s no shame in that.
Claudia Barretto, in agreement with Kylie Verzosa’s openness to treatment
You go to a cancer specialist to treat cancer so why not go to a “brain doctor” to help organise your thoughts? See a psychiatrist. Get medication…approach it by changing your lifestyle such as diet, exercise, and working on positive connections by choosing your friends wisely. How deep are our relationships? Three good friends are enough.
Kylie Verzosa on her path to recovery as well as her encouraging words to others who are don’t know where to start
The worst thing you can say to a medically depressed person is “You can just snap out of it!”
Dr. Sylvia Dy, Dean of the College of Social Work & Community Development
Say ‘I’m here for you.’ ‘Let’s talk.’ ‘Let’s go through things together’.
Kylie Versoza on how to approach a friend in need
My theory is that the reason why there is a higher rate of people who are clinically depressed is because of social media. When we’re constantly bombarded with images, we not knowingly tend to feel jealous and it grows inside of us. We don’t want to admit it but it happens.
Isabelle Daza-Semblat on being cautious of social media consumption
Ask yourself, is your friend become a little a bit of a weirdo? Gained weight? Angry? Aggressive? Withdrawn?
Kat Alano on the signs to look out for in a silenced friend that needs your help
I discovered the concept behind kintsugi (Japanese bowls) and applied it to life. When you’re broken, you don’t try to fix yourself—you have to evolve
Kat Alano on the Japanese practice of repairing broken or shattered ceramics (thus adding value to the broken object) and how the philosophy has helped her heal
Here are five tips to keep alive inside and out. 1.) Be here now. Do a body language audit and pull yourself in the moment. 2.) Find your tether—your harness, the rope that can pull you through mentally and emotionally. 3.) Remember that not all people play by the rules or have values. It's good to expect the best from someone but it helps to imagine all possible variables. 4.) Understand medication, therapy, and healing. Remember that you can't pour from an empty cup, and even harder to pour from a broken one. 5.) Sharing your story is building power. Wear your pain and find strength in others who share. Live your truth and people will feel it.
Julian Rodriguez of Plastic Tides PH on surviving trauma
People were questioning me as a parent. What should we have noticed? How could we have noticed? What were the signs? How could someone so loved experience so much pain? We submitted evidence and did a psychological autopsy and found out Julia had borderline personality disorder. The need for the truth slowly healed me. I learnt I wasn’t I control. It cured me of finding happiness in material things and I stopped wasting time on being angry and worried
Sharmaine Buencamino, founder of the Julia Buencamino Project, on the loss of her daughter, Julia
When we look inwards and talk about self love, it’s just accepting who you are. We are enough. We are human beings, not human doings.
Isabelle Daza-Semblat on the path to self love
  • WordsShauna Jay Popple Williams and Jeanna Lanting