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It's About Time
It's About Time

It's About Time

Kenzie Brenna on Be There
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"Be There exists and we need to use it."

Kenzie Brenna is a 29 year old self love enthusiast, mental health advocate and actress from Toronto. Kenzie has struggled with an eating disorder and body image issues over the years but now uses her experience to educate others. She uses social media as a transparency tool, encouraging those in her community to find boldness within themselves, cultivate vulnerability, love fearlessly and live their truth. Kenzie has been a supporter and ambassador of Be There since the beginning.

Experiencing a mental illness and trying to tell people about it is kind of like convincing people that you’ve experienced a ghost. You know it’s there, you know it’s happening, you know something is wrong but everyone else is sort of waiting for their own version of proof. It’s only when you've hit a full blown crisis that you’re, maybe, taken seriously. Mental illness can be passed off as if someone isn’t trying hard enough, that maybe if they just kept grinding and were stronger then they would get over it and be mentally and emotionally healthy again.

When I look back into my past self, into the moments when I was most sick, I often ask myself,  “why didn’t someone step in?” or “why wasn’t someone helping me more?” We tell people frequently to reach out and connect when they are going through something hard but when they do, are we fully equipped to properly be there for them?

When I told people I was afraid to eat because I was scared the food was tampered with and that someone was out to poison me, they responded with confusion. No one sat me down to say, “that must be a really difficult thing to think about all of the time.” Or when I was sick, people thought I was making it up. I don’t want attention for my sickness, I want attention for my strength to persevere through it.

I am grateful to a few people in my life who tried their best, they did all they could with the knowledge that they had. I am glad that I learned from what I went through and for what they taught me. Being able to be a part of a community now where we share our stories, give each other constructive, emotional, important feedback is something I'm so grateful for. 

Through knowledge and education we can get to a better place with how we view mental health and illness and how we integrate it into our everyday health narrative. Living with a mental illness or struggling through a mental health problem is hard, that's why I share my story, to let others know that they aren’t alone. But being there for someone who is struggling with their mental health is hard as well, that's why I’m so thankful to be a part of Jack.org’s Be There resource.

We’ve been able to create a place where anyone can go when they don’t have all the answers. Through months of surveying and researching, here we are. We’ve been able to narrow down what works and what doesn’t. I only wish this came sooner, that we had it years ago, and that the stigma around mental illness was gone. But we have Be There now, it exists, and we need to use it.

If you’re reading this and struggling, keep going. You aren’t alone and we’re working everyday to make it better for you, and for all of us.

Want to hear more of what Kenzie has to say? She was recently a featured guest on the Sickboy Podcast spreading awareness about Jack.org's newest mental health resource BeThere.org Yes? Great! Here's the link: Listen now!