The Importance of Lived Experience by Christa Maria Sacco

Mental health is a broad topic that encompasses a lot, from mindfulness, self-esteem, empowerment, and stress reduction to relationships and deep trauma repair.  In today’s world, we need our mental health more than ever in order to keep fighting for our quality of life, our values, and our healing.

Mental health is key to our very survival.  We are living in a system that disregards the value of human life, whether in its mass incarceration practices, the police killings of people of color, economic violence, or the constant threats  to public healthcare that endanger millions of lives everyday.

We may feel surrounded by trauma in our communities, which generates pain and distress.  In order to deal with the pain, and continue the struggle to live: we have to confront mental health.

Mental health speaks to our very life experiences, which no one can take away from us, and seeks to make meaning or create value out of these experiences.  It does not change what has happened to us, but it can change the way we think and relate to these experiences. It can change how our experiences  impact who we believe ourselves to be.

It is impossible not to feel pain and anger in the current political climate. Mental health helps us to make sense of these emotions within safe spaces and with the support of trusted others.  Mental health gives us a language to speak to our own processes of deep change.

Mental health begins with ourselves. We can learn by telling our stories and listening to others tell their stories.  Everyone has lived experience!  At Lived Experience Los Angeles, we hope that by sharing our lived experience we can build strong communities of mental health even in trying times.

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