Have you ever heard the expression, God gives the toughest battles to the strongest soldiers? Well, we’re here. Suited and booted and ready to go. By we, I mean millennials and Gen Z. Have you noticed how younger generations are prioritizing mental health and normalizing self-care?

Mental health has become a monumental breakthrough in addressing traumas of the past, and it’s our younger generations holding the torch. We have taken a seat at the head of our traditional tables to be the light and beacon of hope to our families. This pivotal moment in time is unveiling the deeply rooted issues of anxiety, depression, mental illness/disorders and much-needed guidance of therapy. We are now in the position to educate our older generations to seek assistance in all areas of wellness. What a time to be alive.

According to the National Poll of Healthy Aging, one in three older adults expresses hesitation about seeking mental health care in the future. Although there is still some groundwork to be done in regards to this stigma, health care systems across the U.S are merging mental health care into primary care. This initiative can help greater numbers of older adults accept and access mental health treatment.

While viewing the HBO Max documentary Katrina’s Babies (directed and narrated by Edward Buckles Jr.), it is made clear that the emotional impact of Hurricane Katrina on the youth was never addressed amidst the tragedy that devastated families in the city of New Orleans in 2005.

Hurricane Katrina was an event that acted as one of the largest dislocation of Black families since slavery. The documentary centers around the young voices that were heavily impacted and, for the first time, directly asks how they are dealing with what they experienced over a decade ago.

One quote from the director himself that hit home for me was, “We went back to school too early. We weren’t ready.” This resonated with me because oftentimes as a culture we are expected to exude resilience and press forward. But what if those emotional scars stunts that mindset? How then are we able to groom those scars without first addressing whether they are, in fact, there?

This question is where we’re breaking ground, acknowledging the stigma of mental wellness is present. Our communities cannot healthily function as a village if generational traumas are swept under the oldest rugs of strength. This is the part of the movie where the torch is passed back to revisit the past and reinvent the future. The village is shifting backward in order to move onward in peace. And that process of having the conversation with our elders about the benefits of therapy, self-care and mental health practices is our ticket to adjusting our mindsets to receive clarity in return.

I marvel at the theory of the old versus new perspectives of life. We are all experiencing teachable moments at their finest. In doing so, we are setting the standard now rather than later.

No more should someone’s mental woes leave this earth with them.

No more should individuals suffer in silence.

No more should families hide behind decades of secrets.

There are platforms, safe spaces and professionals working overtime to prevent these issues from going unnoticed. But like most things, the first step is admittance. I challenge you to ask yourself today, where are you on the scale of admission? And at what point do you surrender your resilience to receive the assistance designed for a mentally healthy lifestyle?

The mental health community awaits with open arms, and their door will remain open.