Mental health: it’s not a topic that is particularly fun to discuss, right?!  But given the impact it has on … well, every part of our lives – it’s dang important. And yet, mental illness still carries a stubborn stigma, particularly in certain circles. Societal pressures and professional image concerns lead many of us to avoid seeking support, which ultimately reinforces the stigma.

Mental illness doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care about your age, your gender, your job title, or your bank balance. It can affect anyone, even those who outwardly seem to have it all together. 

Appearances can be deceiving

Yes, even you, successful professional, juggling multiple responsibilities, and managing life with apparent ease. The truth is, appearances can be deceiving. Particularly for those of us who are navigating careers, families, and personal ambitions, the pressure can be immense. Yet, we often find ourselves silently struggling, afraid to admit that we might need a little support. Why? Because we've been conditioned to believe that seeking therapy is a sign of weakness, that it's something to be ashamed of, or worse, that it could jeopardize our professional reputation. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that only 41 percent of adults with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year.  Yet depression and anxiety disorders are among the leading causes of disability worldwide, affecting more than 264 million people.

Aside from work-related stress, we are also in a daily battle of comparisons, each of us trying to keep up with the other. Our Instagram and Facebook accounts have become the “trailers” of our lives: showing only the exciting, well-curated, beautiful parts that scream “functional,” “loving,” and “normal.” 

The pressure to maintain this facade can increase feelings of inadequacy and contribute to the stigma surrounding mental health struggles. Plain English? No one wants to be the only one struggling, and when the appearance across social media is perfection? Yeah … I’m going to pretend I have it all together, too. Thus, social media not only amplifies the pressure to appear "functional" but also hinders genuine conversations about mental health by promoting an unrealistic and often unattainable image of well-being.

The truth is, by now we all should be “qualified,” professional marketers: we have convinced thousands of our followers that we are #blessed. From our flawless and filtered appearances to our beach vacations, we have polished our presentation. We may have even convinced ourselves, our loudest critic, that we have it all.

Until those painful events, emotions, or memories we have ignored for so long revolt against our avoidance. That revolt looks like anxiety, depression, compulsion, overspending, self-medicating, lack of motivation, exhaustion, anger, issues in our relationships … the list goes on and on.

So what do we do about it?  

Well, first I challenge you to accept the science: struggles of the mind are no different than any other physical ailment.  

Like many physical illnesses, mental illnesses often have a biological basis. Conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia have been linked to abnormalities in brain chemistry, genetics, and neurobiology, similar to how conditions like diabetes or heart disease have underlying physiological causes.  

So … disconnect from self-blame. If it doesn’t serve you, leave it behind.

Next? Give yourself the gift of allowing yourself to be imperfect. 

And, get excited about the possibility of self-care that targets our most powerful superpower: our mind.

So, if you've been silently struggling, if you've been putting off seeking help because of the stigma or fear of judgment, I urge you to take that first step. Remember, you don't have to go it alone. We don’t have to be (nor can we be) the experts in everything. Imagine how life could look without the burden of repressed emotion. Imagine your personal (and professional) potential. With the right support, anything is possible. As a new therapist in Great Falls, I’m passionate about breaking that barrier, with the goal of redefining therapy as not just an essential service but one that feels different.

In need of help? If you are struggling with your mental health, the NAMI HelpLine is here for you. Connect with a NAMI HelpLine specialist by calling 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), text "HelpLine" to 62640 or chat with us at If you are a teen or young adult you can call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), text "HelpLine" to 62640 or chat with us at

Bridgette Pence recently opened Nourish Wellness Therapy, a counseling practice in Great Falls. She aims to rebrand what “therapy” looks like. She believes therapy should be celebrated and views it as a courageous step towards a healthier, happier you, and something to be proud of. 
As a counselor in Great Falls, MT, she’s committed to providing a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to explore thoughts, feelings, and experiences. At Nourish Wellness, therapy isn't just about talking—it's about empowerment. It's about equipping people with the tools and strategies needed to navigate life's ups and downs with confidence and resilience.