Lucas Walters He's going to bat for Newfoundland. Play video Lucas Walters is bringing rural Canada to the forefront. Growing up in a rural community, I learned from a young age how harmful silence could be. I struggled with my sexual identity, with navigating the stigma that surrounded the LGBTQ+ community, and with fitting into my town. Consequentially, I didn’t know who to talk to, who to come out to, or where I was safe. I felt sad, afraid, and alone. Through my own struggles, and after one of my darkest moments, I realized how powerful my voice could be in creating progress for both myself and my community. I spoke to a family doctor, got the help that I needed to manage my mental health struggles, and finally felt like myself. I became an advocate for my community, speaking up at every chance to show others that they aren’t alone. Being there for others motivates me to make change and to broadcast positive messaging about what it means to be mentally well, and what it means to be part of the LGBTQ+ community. Today, I welcome every chance to educate others, to help open up positive dialogue about being gay and healthy in rural communities, and to brainstorm about how we can all foster inclusivity. I started to speak, present, and write my experiences so that others could translate my messages to their own struggles, reminding us all that things get better. I decided to write a letter to myself, reminding myself of all that I’ve done, all that I’ve come through, and the incredible path ahead. I hope this letter brings some important messages to others, helps remind us all that it gets better. My goal is to help others understand the experience of struggling with your mental health, and also navigating processes unique to the LGBTQ+ community (like coming out, facing discrimination, stigma, violence). I’m making change in whatever way I can to ensure that all young people, across the entire country, have access to the knowledge and connections they need to take care of their mental health, to feel comfortable in who they are, and to use their platforms to enact change in our communities.