Riya Hamid: Radically Honest About Mental Health
*Please note that this content contains sensitive information regarding mental health and topics related to suicide. The extraordinary artist, poet, model and mental health activist, Riya Hamid, opens up to us about the very brave and honest work she is doing on Instagram surrounding her own personal struggles with mental health, a subject that is all too taboo and that needs to come to the surface, because we all struggle with mental health in one way or another. She describes what it was like to grow up the eldest daughter of immigrant parents from Bangladesh, turning her back on the Muslim religion as a teen, but reconnecting with her past by wearing saris and learning to cook the traditional dishes of her mentally ill mother as a way to care for the wounded child within. Riya holds nothing back as she reveals the truth about her hospitalizations and the difference between passive suicidal ideation and suicidal intention. She explains that it’s possible to have an apparently fun life on the exterior while still being in excruciating pain on the inside. “There just needs to be a revolution in the way that we talk about mental health. Across the entire world, there's not a place where people openly talk about it and I'm sick of it. People deal with this daily, people lose lives. These conversations are bound to make people uncomfortable because it's the first time we're having them and it's actually a good sign, it's supposed to. To an outsider, I'm a person who's popular on social media and I'm attractive and I dress well and I have friends so what could possibly be wrong? What could I have possibly have been through? Every day I get messages from people who accuse me of faking my mental illness and my Go Fund Me because they see me having a good time and people don't realize that those two things can exist concurrently. I can have a good time and still be a mentally ill person.” *A note to all listeners that if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Thank you.