Embracing the Diversity Within Us
written by By Katherine Ponte, JD, MBA, CPRP, posted in Nami
Everybody has multiple identities whether or not they’re living with mental illness. Among those most important to me: I am a kind-hearted person, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a volunteer, an entrepreneur, a Portuguese-Canadian-American, a Catholic, an Ivy League graduate, and I happen to be a person living with mental illness.
All of this and much more is me. I am proud of all of me. The many aspects of my identity greatly enhance who I am. They give me multiple sources of strength to draw on which help me cope with the challenges of mental illness.
In order for our identities to promote mental health, we have to let ourselves be empowered by them. In particular, a person’s identities can enhance their sense of belonging because they can allow membership and connection with multiple communities. This can be particularly helpful to mental health.