Friday, 15 March 2013
Dan Pellegrini, a Families for Depression Awareness volunteer and suicide prevention activist, devotes much of his time telling others about his experience with depression. He is particularly interested in getting his message of wellness to men. Dan attended our 2012 Strides Against Stigma event and, in the following interview, explains why he thinks other men should register for our April 27, 2013 event.
FFDA: Why did you attend Strides Against Stigma in 2012?
Dan: I attended because I want more people to understand that depression is a key cause of suicide. If we can break the stigma associated with depression, more people can get help, heal, and move on to have happy lives.
FFDA: What did you take away from the experience at Strides?
Dan: It was an important way to connect with people who feel alone; the event helps them to feel like there are others who really care about their suffering.
FFDA: Why is it crucial for men to address their mental wellness?
Dan: Society pressures men into thinking they have to be strong and can’t show any weaknesses. But depression isn't a weakness. I want other men to move past any shame they may feel and know that it’s ok to say, “I need help.” They don’t need to go down a road that may lead them to take their own lives.
FFDA: What have been the most important tools that you have learned for maintaining wellness?
Dan: I’ve learned to be aware of my thoughts so I can tell when they are becoming unhealthy. Eating right and staying physically active is helpful. It’s also really important to me to keep spiritually rooted in my Buddhist faith.
FFDA: What would you say to men who are thinking of attending Strides Against Stigma 2013 but are reluctant?
Dan: By attending Strides, we are bringing much more attention to mental health. Those of us who are affected by depressive disorders cannot get better or grow stronger in isolation. We have to muster up the courage to step out and connect.