My name is Ally and I am one of nine UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors for 2018-19. Today is World Mental Health Day - an initiative created by the world Federation for Mental Health to increase public awareness and acceptance of mental health issues worldwide.
Growing up, I heard terms like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but they were concepts, rather than words that had personal meaning to me and which I understood well.
When I was 12, nobody really connected the word depression with me and what I was experiencing. Where I lived, mental health issues were covered with a heavy layer of stigma. As a result, it was difficult for me to understand why I felt the way I did and to access help I was comfortable with. It also made it harder for others to recognise what was wrong and provide support.