When it comes to struggling with mental health issues, there is no one-size-fits-all diagnosis or approach to recovery. Take it from Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models Tanaye White, Kamie Crawford and Georgina Burke. These three women have all dealt with their share of mental health issues and have been so vulnerable in opening up about them with the world.
It is estimated that one in five women are affected by anxiety and depression. The one thing that is more apparent now than ever is that we all need a support system to lean on. No one should ever feel alone in their struggles, which is something White, who had worked through her own suicidal thoughts as a teenager, didn’t realize until her late 20s. “My depression was at its peak throughout my pre-teen and teenage years. For many in the Black community, mental wellness isn’t seen as a serious health challenge, so unfortunately, I never received the help I needed in those years,” says the 2020 Swim Search winner. “I didn’t have the courage or awareness to start therapy until I was 28 years old.”
Similarly, Burke relies on a close circle of confidants to help her daily. “I became a shadow of myself and I spent the last two years working so hard to become the person I was [before],” says the 2022 SI Swimsuit rookie, of a time after an especially hard few years. “I really spent the last two years surrounding myself with the most incredible people because I think you are a product of your environment. Everybody around me came together, and I think therapy is an awesome product.”
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Opening up to a therapist may seem daunting, but it’s finding one that leaves many feeling overwhelmed. “I’ve realized now just how challenging the process of finding a therapist can be whether you’re insured or not,” White adds. “I’m so thankful that virtual therapy sessions are so common now, but I’m disappointed at the strenuous process of finding one and the exorbitant costs.” Services available through the National Alliance on Mental Illness or other programs White suggests like The Loveland Foundation, Therapy for Black Girls or Psychology Today are wonderful resources. Additional resources made available by the Brave Together program are the Jed Foundation and Crisis Text Line.
After years of being bullied, Crawford decided enough was enough. “My childhood was me being sad a lot because I was letting other people dictate how I felt about myself all the time,” the fellow 2022 rookie says. “I just woke up one day and decided I wasn’t going to let other people tell me how to feel about myself anymore. The most important opinion of you should be your own. Regardless of what anyone says to you or about you, know that your uniqueness is what makes you great and so incredibly special.”
During her sophomore year of high school, in the midst of her own depression, White lost a friend to suicide. “For anyone struggling internally, I just want to remind you that you are meant to be here,” she says. “You matter, you have purpose in this life, and you are so loved. Find someone who feels safe and take the first step in telling them you’re not okay. Your tribe loves you and wants the best for you and will support you without any judgment.” Adds Crawford, “Talk to someone that you can trust so that you don't have to bear the weight of these feelings alone. You are loved and you are important.”
We are firm believers in the power of using your voice and sharing our unique stories. Voices of Change is a series in partnership with Maybelline Brave Together. Opening up about our experiences takes us one step closer to destigmatizing the conversation around mental health. Maybelline's global cause initiative, Brave Together, is dedicated to breaking the stigma around anxiety and depression while addressing challenges and providing resources to those in need. They have launched a text line which will provide anyone, anywhere 24/7 access to a crisis counselor. If you or someone you love is struggling with anxiety or depression, there are ways to get help. Text TOGETHER to 741741.